CD Radio Phnom Penh (CD 966106),
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Radio Phnom Penh

  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): SF 020CD

  • Credits
    Producer
    Engineer

    This is simply one of Sublime Frequencies' best, strangest and most entertaining psycho-touristic sets. The Cambodian pop/rock gems presented here have been selected and assembled by Alan Bishop, who lifted them from the AM and FM airwaves of Phnom Penh. The AM cuts are genuine recordings from the '60s and '70s, an era during which Cambodians made a vital effort to adapt Western music to their culture. The FM cuts feature similar recordings that have been remixed (with the addition of drums and other instruments) in an attempt to adapt them to the taste of the youth du jour. Bishop concludes his liner notes by stating that "this is re-mix radio, much of it re-mixed music, created by a re-mixed culture," referring to Cambodia's history as a French colony with strong American and Chinese influences. The result is a rollercoaster of Eastern-sounding psychedelic pop, ska, rockabilly, and the likes, peppered with bits of radio chatter in Cambodian, English and French (including news and broadcasts from the Cambodian international shortwave radio service) and lots of cheesy keyboard work. A thumping dance beat kicks off the set, but dance music makes very few apparitions. What reigns throughout the set is a blend of British Invasion-type pop, ska/reggae, and Santana-like Latin rock. Highlights include the first tune heard in the track titled "Street Guns and Studio Drums" (itself a collage of bits and piece that must be heard to be believed), the most disturbing cover ever recorded of the Beatles' "Hard Day's Night," and the most improbable ad for condoms. All this is presented in Sublime Frequencies' typically kaleidoscopic fashion, painting a vividly colorful, slightly disorienting picture of Cambodian culture, which is arguably closer to the real thing (diverse and disorganized as any other culture) than the cataloged presentations of ethnomusicologists. Recommended. ~ Franois Couture

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