The wild beast that is the Cambodian music scene this week shakes off the shackles of diminutive duos, boutique trios and charming acoustic solo engagements… and heads straight for the big guns. Several five and six-piece bands will take to the stage to give you a real taste of what full-on live music is all about. In addition to the reformed and rejuvenated reggae outfit Vibratone at Samai Distillery this (Thursday) evening and the multiple-vocalled Khmer-fusion group Miss Sarawan Band at FCC on Friday, two favourite Kingdom quintets will head out into the live arena, debut albums steaming like hot cakes in their hands.
Hypnotic Fist Technique released their eagerly-anticipated first album this week. As you will hear via bandcamp, ‘Golden Age: The Sequel’ is a fully realised opus, successfully translating the heady mix of styles and energetic musicianship of HFT to disc. No measly ‘EP’ for this powerhouse Phnom Penh-based band of expats who, in keeping with their ‘all or nothing’ attitude to live performance, have eschewed half-measures and gone straight for a thirteen-track set of well-recorded and well-produced original songs. HFT quintet Initial G, Mike Dynamo, Supreme Premium D, I the Mic Factor and Hot Toddy will look to extend their eighteen-month unbroken run of kick-ass, block-rocking, ‘live action hip-hop’ concerts with an album launch at Hard Rock Cafe this Saturday night. Emcee/singer Mike Dynamo told Leng Pleng why you need to be there:
“From the sacrificial pyres of Open Mic to the pyrotechnic stage of the Hard Rock Cafe, the Five Fingers of the Hypnotic Fist return for more mystic mastery as they offer up their new, fully-formed debut album, Golden Age: the Sequel! Prepare yourself for the unforgettable as Hypnotic Fist Technique wield weaponized truth in pursuit of love, glory, and hip hop… all to give you the greatest night of your life this Saturday!” – MIKE DYNAMO, HFT
Anyone spending much time in the venues of Kampot will already be familiar with the unique personality that is Darryl ‘Corporal’ Carter – a character so intertwined with the story of the expat music scene in Cambodia that comparisons with movie hero ‘Forrest Gump’ are inevitable. Whenever something momentous is happening, he is there – field recorder in one hand, cold can of Cambodian beer in the other, notebook-and-pen poking from the top pocket of his military shirt. Live music-loving Darryl records and relates his experiences via his own Kampot Radio – an eclectic broadcast station of independent wonder. Congratulations to Darryl and his team for reaching the milestone first anniversary of the station. Click here to read more about Kampot Radio – in Carter’s own words.
As reported by Kampot Radio last week, the Kampot Playboys’ debut album has been bestowed a title and is currently in the final stages of production. The process of making a great recording is never easy… and it was always going to be tough to capture the compelling, ‘wall-of-sound’ live Playboys experience in bits and bytes. Since initial Siem Reap sessions last year, The Kampot fusionistas have put their Garuda album in the hands of a new producer and are close to getting a result they will be satisfied with. We can’t wait! In the meantime, the Playboys will be hurling their backline onto a boat and hopping across the water this Saturday to open Dave ‘Donkey’ Barbe’s new venue The Sleeping Buffalo on Koh Rong Samloen. Kampong Cham Playboy Chris Davis will board the ship with fiddle in hand, swelling the ranks to a sextet, while support comes from Phnom Penh ‘dirty blues’ band Phnom Skor. Sounds like a party!
In closing, check out the self-styled ‘Pirate Cabaret’ of Nicolas Pocalipse, scheduled to appear tonight (Thursday) at Tacos Kokopelli and on Friday at Farm to Table. As you will see from the below video, Hoi-An-based Frenchman Nicolas has a unique and somewhat theatrical take on the time honoured solo ‘piano-bar’ form. Cool!
Whatever you’re up to over the next few days, stay safe out there and… see you around the traps!