[coll]: Guitars of the Golden Triangle: Folk and Pop Music of Myanmar (Burma) Vol. 2 (Sublime Frequencies)|
Reviewed by Sadie O., 12/26/05
Gonzo garage/psychedelic rock from the early 70’s from the hills of Northeast Burma, recovered from random cassette tapes. Mostly awful sound quality with plenty of dropouts, but still compelling crazy shit. Shades of Dengue Fever, or at least the early garage tapes of the Count Five, sung in Burmese….
I do wish the compilers had gone against their principles and remastered this stuff, because it’s great but sounds like shit.
Apparently Saing Saing Maw is “the original Shan legend”, still a favorite of truck drivers in upper Burma. Lashio Thein Maw is “the Burmese Texan” for his “cowboy” style – not that it sounds very “cowboy” to us. The “Khuns” are various Pa’o artists about whom pretty much nothing is known – if any of this helps!
1. 2:14 Than Shin Ley Ye Khan Saing Saing Maw
abysmal sound quality, but fun bouncy pop
2. 2:05 You Got What You Got Lashio Thein Aung
midtempo ballad pop duet, cute
3. 2:13 Lake Thay Mah Shoke Saing Saing Maw
psychedelic rock with lots of farfisa (some dropout)
4. 2:37 Lah Ley Cham Saing Saing Maw
uptempo, chanted chorus, somewhat psycho, with nutso drum solo. Gnarly!
5. 3:17 Naung Ywe Khun Kan Chwain
Burma’s Everly Brothers. Midtempo ballad.
6. 1:41 (Unknown) Unknown Artist
female singer, very traditional influence. Cut off at end.
7. 3:21 *Don't Say Goodbye Lashio Thein Aung
electric guitar picked like a mandolin, midtempo pop rock
8. 2:55 **(Unknown) Khun Paw Yann
reverb and fuzz box, slow, psychedelic as hell. Words totally fail me.
9. 3:42 *Nga Ley Khun Kaung Kay Maung
whammy bar heaven. Vocals WAY in front of mix, garage-y
10. 3:25 Lam Lah Lo May Shoke Saing Saing Maw
terrible sound – too bad, great little twist number, and Ray Mazarek would be proud of the organ bits. Well, he’d be something, anyway…
11. 3:13 **(Unknown) Khun Paw Yann
Starts out all pretty like Donovan, then the fuzz guitar comes in. Yay! Unfortunately, it goes away again, but the singing is worth sticking around for – Emote, baby! Emote!
12. 2:33 **A Girl Among Girls Lashio Thien Aung
definite beach party material. Do the frug!
13. 3:54 *Nan Pohn Sah Khun Kan Chwain
slow and emotional duet – guitar is much better than singers, and unfortunately buried behind them. May be worth playing just for the most disturbed guitar solo in history.
14. 2:55 *Lam Sai-Tahlo Saing Saing Maw
I don’t know whether the tape was warped or the musicians were, but it’s just strange sounding. The guitar solo is cool – sharp sounding as anything by Dick Dale.
15. 3:19 *Mu Nohn Taan Nan Phin Sar
miserable sound again, cute female vocals and very sincere sounding three piece trap drum kit. It grows on one.
16. 5:09 Hopes And Goals Khun Paw Yann
the rock opera of the bunch. A real attempt to be dramatic and musical. Great razor sharp guitar sound.
17. 4:01 *Khin Kam Saing Saing Maw
dramatic vocal intro, midtempo rocker. This guitar break may be even more demented than the one in track 13.
18. 2:44 ***(Unknown) Khun Paw Yann
terrific guitars, the singer is mostly on pitch, there’s a wah wah – it’s a winner!
19. 2:49 **Mistake Of A Small Bird Lashio Thein Aung
this one DOES have a bit of 60’s era Roger Miller to it. Super fast picking and good singing. Great title, too.
20. 2:49 **Moon Khun Hia Maung Law
a bit of syncopation – almost kinda ska! Upbeat and swingy, with a slow bit in the middle that almost completely falls apart. Oh, this is some weird, weird shit.
21. 2:47 (Unknown) Saing Saing Maw
fuzz and reverb, and the vocals don’t sound all together either. Too bad this guy seems to have the worst sound quality throughout, because there’s some decent garage rock in there somewhere, if you can just make it out…