Elephants are among the largest, smartest and most majestic animals on the planet Earth. It’s about time someone recorded their jam sessions! While a lot of lesser human bands are often referred to as supergroups, what we have here is literally and truly worthy of that lofty moniker. Right off the bat, the first track on this Water Music CD pushes out of the speakers a fat array of guttural growls, shrieks and moans with the heaviest cling-clang percussion not only from this side of the Chao Phraya, but on any side of any river. The other songs veer all the way from gentle interludes full of loosely pinging atmosphere to downright spacey, rhythmic workouts that you could swear were played by stoned Germans back in the ’70s. But no, it was all performed live with no overdubs on big drums, gongs and xylophone-like instruments at the Thai Elephant Conservation Center by 14 pachyderms that range in age from three to 29 years. The only exception is track one, in which a master mahout and holy man, Boonyang Boonthiam, beautifully sings along with the animals, and two other folks who add the wispy sound of rainsticks (which the elephants couldn’t hold) to tracks two and three. I wish I would have known about the Thai Elephant Orchestra when I visited Thailand last summer. I would have checked them out for sure. But, at least I have the next best thing–a CD full of their oddly relaxing and wonderfully “out there” music. I highly recommend it!
Label: Mulatta Records Catalog Number: MUL020 Format: CD Packaging: Tri-Fold Mini-LP Jacket Tracks: 10 Total Time: 69:28 Country: United States Released: 2010 More: Amazon, Mulatta Records, Dave Soldier, YouTube
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