Album Review

Crying Princess:78 rpm Records From Burma, The [coll] – [Sublime Frequencies]

Thurston Hunger   2/1/2013   12-inch, International

I haven’t had a whole lotta truck with Princesses, but I can only imagine
Crying ones are the tops. Sounds akin to a music box impregnated by a gamelan
(really a “pat waing” per the fine liner notes). That nasaly nhai with its
expressive shrill squeezing sound is a strong spice. The talking interchange
on #3 and #4, before the screamy, dreamy courtship of #5…all captivate.
Every track on side A is over 100 years old, wrap your head and headphones
around that! The high pitched sounds of voice and instruments help to cut
through the hiss and warp of the years. Percussion often punctuates the
poetry. The free style improvisation of the nhai is pure and spellbinding.
Track #7 has a strength in numbers for the chorus. Leading off the second
side, Yadana Myit belts it out like a blues master, her two tracks also
feature the ripples of the harp from the album’s cover. The second side
has a more breezy feel, less of the piercing joy/pain. A sleepy sax is
stirred in at one point. The two concluding tracks include electric guitar
that moves in that Hindustani slippery style….bending of notes and
sliding, but very clean and again working in the upper registers. Sublime
Frequencies always breaking geographic boundaries, but time travel here
is quite a gift too. Respect to Robert Millis, erstwhile Climax Golden
Twin, who joined KFJC hero and Sublime NAT Alan Bishop in the
anthropolyphony here! Welcome the Princess into your broken heart.

-Thurston Hunger (with a mighty merci to Monsieur Benoit and Uncle Jim)

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