Cambodian Psyche

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I keep hearing about all this amazing psychedelic rock/pop music from Cambodia before the Kamar Rouge took over the country. I haven't been able to track down any mp3's though. Anyone care to help me out with mp3s, or at least pointing in the direction of specific good compilations or artists?

I'm also interested in any other wooley vintage Asian psyche mp3s or recommendations, I really only know about the punk and avant=stuff from Japan.

Adam S S (Zephery), Monday, 3 July 2006 00:57 (eleven years ago) Permalink


I recommend actually buying Sublime Frequencies stuff, not DL-ing it.

sleeve (sleeve), Monday, 3 July 2006 01:07 (eleven years ago) Permalink

GOD PUNCH TO HAWKWIND (yournullfame), Monday, 3 July 2006 02:05 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Sublime Frequencies recommendation seconded.

See also Dengue Fever, the Cambodian psych revival outfit.

Soukesian (Soukesian), Monday, 3 July 2006 06:10 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Dengue Fever kinda sucks, and the Sublime Frequency stuff is great, but totally hit and miss. You'll probably only ever need one volume of it, unless you have cash to spare.

js (honestengine), Monday, 3 July 2006 08:19 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Looking at SF's catalogue makes me want to get them all...

Baaderonixx immer wieder (baaderonixx), Monday, 3 July 2006 08:54 (eleven years ago) Permalink

wrt SF catalog, everything I have heard that is NOT one of those radio collage discs is really really good. For starters:

both Myanmar volumes (Princess Nicotine and Guitars From The Golden Triangle)

the Iraq one (Choubi Choubi)

the new "ethnic Northern Cambodia" release, name escapes me

sleeve (sleeve), Tuesday, 4 July 2006 02:18 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Hey Adam, check out some of the 70s Korean stuff. A lot of it has been reissued, and the stuff that hasn't can be found on Soulseek.

Some of my faves:

JANG HYUN & THE MEN - Woman of the Evening Sun
SAN UL LIM - San Ul Lim 1, San Ul Lim 2, San Ul Lim 3

A few others I like too, but I can't remember the names and can't read Hangul. :(

helmut was a krautrocker (helmut was a krautrocker), Tuesday, 4 July 2006 23:15 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Any YouTube action on any of this stuff?

Soukesian (Soukesian), Wednesday, 5 July 2006 18:51 (eleven years ago) Permalink

nine years pass...

Yo, there's a documentary about this stuff called Don't Think I've Forgotten and it's magnificent. I just saw it and now I am on a Cambodian rock & roll kick!

Y Kant Max Read (Stevie D(eux)), Thursday, 23 July 2015 03:44 (two years ago) Permalink

Yeah I wanna see it... unfortunately not playing in Cambodia anytime soon!!!

Adam J Duncan, Thursday, 23 July 2015 04:38 (two years ago) Permalink

This era of music is still pretty popular but there's no one really carrying the flag inside the country (just a couple Western-based acts... Dengue Fever & the rip-off Cambodian Space Project). Popular music is not doing very well, with the labels recording and promoting those who will pay them the biggest bucks, for the most part.

Best stuff I've heard recently is by Arn Chorn Pond, who runs an NGO devoted to traditional music education. Dude's not exactly a rising star tho: I'm still the only scrobbler on Last.FM.

Here's one of his tracks featuring Kong Nay, a chapei player called the "Ray Charles of Cambodia", that transforms into a Khmer Surin dance track half way through (will be a familiar sound to those who've heard Isaan music, as that's the home of Thailand's Khmer minority). Only on Spotify, sorry:

Adam J Duncan, Thursday, 23 July 2015 04:54 (two years ago) Permalink

Apologies, this is actually a Khmer style from Cambodia, not Isaan... it's the only example I know of vocal harmonizing in modern Cambodian music, so I rashly pegged it as Surin when in fact this act is using harmonies as a novelty.

Adam J Duncan, Thursday, 23 July 2015 05:10 (two years ago) Permalink

Can you recommend any definitive compilations? The DTIF soundtrack sourced a bunch of shit from OG vinyl and is supposed to sound way better than a lot of existing material; I hear the Cambodian Rocks comp is p great too.

Y Kant Max Read (Stevie D(eux)), Thursday, 23 July 2015 15:08 (two years ago) Permalink

Cambodia Rock Spectacular: Groove Club 2

thono, Thursday, 23 July 2015 15:25 (two years ago) Permalink

On the Rolling Outernational 2015 thread the movie doc was discussed as well as the accompanying gigs held in some places with:

Baksey Cham Krong
Considered to be the first Cambodian guitar band, Baksey Cham Krong formed in 1960 and began rocking their local high school in Phnom Penh with songs influenced by the Ventures and Cliff Richards and the Shadows. Soon they perfected a clean guitar sound and soon guitar bands began to pop up all over the capital city.

Three original members including singer Mol Kamach, lead guitarist Mol Kagnol and rhythm guitarist Samley Hong will be performing.

The Drakkar
In the late 60s, long hair and bell-bottoms became all the rage in Phnom Penh. The Drakkar band brought there own mix of current western influences too and created hard rock, Cambodian style. The Rolling Stones, Santana and Deep Purple were huge influences as the Drakkar helped take Cambodian rock and roll in yet a new direction.

Three original members including singer Tana, lead guitarist Touch Chhattaha and drummer Ouk Sam Art will be performing.

The songs of Sinn Sisamouth. Cambodian pop’s most revered singer who tragically disappeared during the Khmer Rouge era will be sung by his grandson, Sinn Sethakol.

The songs of Ros Serey Sothea. Dubbed the golden voice of the capital by the King himself, Ros Serey Sothea’s voice was an instrument like no other. As Cambodia’s most beloved female singer she was unable to hide her identitiy and also perished during the Khmer Rouge. Chhom Nimol, the great singer from the band Dengue Fever will be singing a collection of Ros Serey Sothea’s songs

curmudgeon, Thursday, 23 July 2015 16:35 (two years ago) Permalink

The definitive introduction? My podcast episode on the subject of course! But yeah Cambodia Rocks was the first and I guess definitive... there's a new Rough Guide out there that I'd give a spin, too. Now I just hear it through my wife's YT playlists... the "Big Three" are Sinn Sisamouth, Pann Ron, and Ros Sereysothea. The latter is easily my favourite, and the middle definitely the most dissimilar to Western vocal taste... her rawness suits the style, though. Sisamouth is considered by far the most important of the three here, as his crooning style now dominates the airwaves. He's the wellspring.

Contrary to assertions in a lot of the lit out there, Khmer is a tonal language. It was just never standardized, in contrast to its linguistic sibling Vietnamese, which developed a tiered tonal system under a millennium of Chinese rule. Many of the written vowels are only differentiated by tone. Appreciation of vocal qualities is thus largely about methods of negotiating the tone... cool concept in theory, but it makes the crooning style too esoteric for non-speakers... same problem for all East Asian slow pop. Maybe some of those Cantonese superstars emote as well as Sinatra or Ella, but damned if I know, it's simply outside my ability to appreciate.

Adam J Duncan, Friday, 24 July 2015 05:09 (two years ago) Permalink

this is one of my favorites:

Y Kant Max Read (Stevie D(eux)), Friday, 24 July 2015 12:43 (two years ago) Permalink



Adam J Duncan, Friday, 24 July 2015 16:04 (two years ago) Permalink

six months pass...

That documentary is streaming on Hulu!!!

police patrol felt the smell of smoke and found that goat burns (Stevie D(eux)), Tuesday, 23 February 2016 17:55 (two years ago) Permalink

That's a really really good documentary. When I lived in Cambodia several years ago, hardly anyone I knew there listened to old psych. That's probably partly due to nearly all of the records having been destroyed by the KR. Lots of what we hear in that documentary was salvaged from collectors who left the country before the communist reign of terror. We're lucky that some of the music survived, but I wonder how much might be lost forever. Anyway, it's good stuff, and I prefer it to most of the current sound of Khmer pop / rock.

davey, Tuesday, 23 February 2016 22:09 (two years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

Cambodian Space Project sounding great right now at Kennedy Center Millennium Stage in Washington DC. The show is being streamed live on FB & video archived on K Ctr site. The band is doing another free gig Friday night st the Cutting Room in NY

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 12 September 2017 22:41 (eight months ago) Permalink

most recent Dengue Fever album (The Deepest Lake) is, IMO, their best record by a country mile and well worth yr time

sleeve, Tuesday, 12 September 2017 22:53 (eight months ago) Permalink

Interesting, as a friend was just telling me he has gotten less interested in Dengue and attributed to a membership change in the group. I will give it a listen though

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 13 September 2017 14:22 (eight months ago) Permalink

x-post to myself--
Cambodian Space Project did a nice Khmer version of "Rollin on the River"

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 13 September 2017 14:24 (eight months ago) Permalink

six months pass...

Oh no. Singer Kak Channthy dead in a car accident

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 20 March 2018 04:23 (two months ago) Permalink

38 years old, aka Srey Thy. She was a charismatic and skilled vocalist

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 20 March 2018 15:05 (two months ago) Permalink

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