Drawing on Khmer pop music from the 1950s to the mid ‘70s, astronomy class and Srey Channthy (The Cambodian Space Project) pay tribute to a lost Cambodian generation; their eclectic soundtrack seen in a new light.
Mekong Delta Sunrise spawned in 2012 when Astronomy Class were invited to Phnom Penh by Cambodian hip hop crew Klap Your Handz to perform a version of a classic Khmer rock song with Cambodian star Preap Sovath. During a six hour taxi ride through the Cambodian countryside, the band fell in love with the intoxicating, soulful sounds of Khmer pop that came drifting from the driver’s cassette player.
Khmer pop effortlessly meshed the sounds of traditional Cambodian music with soul, rhythm and blues, cha cha, beat music, mambo, jazz, psychedelic, garage rock and many other genres. From the 1950s to the mid-’70s, Cambodia’s national radio popularised the dynamic and inventive music scene in Phnom Penh, at a time when the vibrant capital was known as “The Pearl of Asia”.
Sir Robbo and Chasm went to task sourcing the exotic sounds of the golden era via cassettes, vinyl and any other medium they could get their hands on. Mekong Delta Sunrise sees them tastefully re-fashion the heady soundtracks of that time with a classic boom-bap aesthetic.
Ozi Batla and Channthy cover vast ground with their stories. They pay tribute to the lives of some of the great singers of the time who disappeared at the hands of the brutal Khmer Rouge (‘Russian Market’). On title track (‘Mekong Delta Sunrise’) they shine a light on the ugly behaviour of western tourists (‘Four Barang in a Tuk Tuk’) and pay their respects to Cambodia’s beloved King Sihanouk (‘Father’).
In Mekong Delta Sunrise, Astronomy Class have crafted an album like no other, whilst documenting the vibrant musical, social and cultural history of Cambodia. You can catch Astronomy Class supporting the Thundamentals tonight at The Metro Theatre, Sydney. IF you don’t have a ticket already you will unfortunately miss out, as this event has sold out! The next chance you get to catch Astronomy Class live is for The Meekong Delta Sunrise Album Launch Shows as per dates below:
Fri 20 June – Newtown Social Club
with True Vibenation plus The Tongue (DJ Set) & Prince V
Fri 27 June – Northcote Social Club feat. Srey Channthy
with One Sixth plus Presto & Danielsan