this is definitely one of my favorite LPs Mississippi has reissued or unearthed, and its also coincidentally the most obscure of all their releases. absolutely no track listing or liner notes, just an eerie cover, assumedly copied from the original LP. and the music is another mysterious thing: titled "70's Thai Orchestra" (though theres no mention anywhere on the sleeve), the music is a psychedelic style of Thai country music called "Molam", which Sublime Frequencies also put out an excellent compilation of. swirling rhythms and strings weave hypnotic patterns with joyous shouts punctuating the mix. total tripped out sound.
here's the good ol' folks at Aquarius Records' review, which will surely do more justice than anything I can serve up:
"A while back we reviewed a cd called Siamese Temple Ball. A truly mysterious disc, with very little in the way of liner notes or any information really, but a record that we all became a little obsessed with and thus listened to it NONstop. We sold tons of copies too.
Then recently, we get a new batch of records from the always amazing Mississippi Records, and one of the records is entitled simply Mysterious Thai LP. So of course we're intrigued. We throw it on, and lo and behold, it's the very same record. Siamese Temple Ball, now on vinyl.
Not sure how this happened, if it was random, or if as we posited back in the day, that maybe Siamese Temple Ball was not actually music from Thailand, but an incredibly well played homage by some Sun City Girls-like worshippers of Eastern musical tradition. Hardly matters, the music is fantastic, wild, emotional, dense, joyous and yes, very very mysterious.
The cd version featured a sticker that proclaimed in faux pidgen English: "Flight comes to Thailand in the Year of the Rat. Siamese Temple Ball provide the lilting soundtrack for a chemical journey. Schoolgirls dance bashfully for the expectant throng. Life continues at a comparatively slow pace away from the rigours of fierce sun-light." Which was then followed by the (label's) description: "In the tradition of Sun City Girls, Ya Ho Wha 13, The Spacious Mind, Taj Mahal Travellers, Mu, Word of Life, Group 1850, and Ghost, Siamese Temple Ball give maximum pleasure for thirsty brains."
Quite a roster of comparisons, the most fitting of which is definitely the Sun City Girls. So while we assume that this record was recorded by a group of precocious, dilettante, ethnomusicologist hipsters, we like to suspend our disbelief and imagine this to be a genuine Folkways-style field recording, as the recording certainly has a genuine field recording presence - a single stereo microphone in a good location. The music itself is a catchy and mesmerizing steady pulse of various and sundry percussion instruments (metal, wood, skin), hollers, yelps, and rococo melodic lines spun out by tinny electric guitars, xylophones, flutes and Khan (mouth organ.) And besides all that, it's really pretty great!
The Mississippi lp version has all new artwork, even more mysterious than the cd, housed in a thick matte finish sleeve, with NO information at all, not even on the lp labels. We're not sure in what capacity, but it was apparently put out in conjunction with Exiled - also from Portland - another great record store. So recommended. And of course, probably WAY too limited..."
so there you have it. limited (and now out of print), mysterious and hypnotic music from "Thailand". excellent.