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Dengue Fever Presents: Electric Cambodia Import


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x93ccc624) out of 5 stars 19 reviews
91 of 92 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x93a09318) out of 5 stars Note from Dengue Fever 7 Feb. 2010
By Ethan Holtzman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
We compiled this music from cassette tapes collected over the years. A couple of the songs do sound as if they were altered in a later decade, that was not by Dengue Fever. We were aware of this, and apologize if anyone felt mislead, but we weren't able to track down the original, but still felt the song was worthy of being on the compilation.
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x93a0a0b4) out of 5 stars Yes, there are overdubs, but... 26 Jun. 2010
By Ron Hawkins - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I live in Cambodia and have many cds of this kind of material. It is very hard to get it without overdubs. While annoying to my Western music purist ears, to hear this music you need to put up with the later tampering. I do look continually look for the unmodified sounds and have some. The overdubs are there to make the music danceable, Khmers love to dance and need to hear the strong beat that isn't present on the original recordings. They are not purists about it, and laugh when I tell them that I want it without the overdubs. In a Third World country, fan boy hand wringing is pretty laughable. It's their music not ours.

As to the music, it is a good compilation of great music that was almost lost to us. It was music made for dancing in nightclubs and so is groovy more than heavy.
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x93a0a96c) out of 5 stars unfortunate overdubs 7 Feb. 2010
By BAKSEY - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The story behind the status of the original recordings is still a big mystery that remains to be solved. It's a miracle that so much of the music survived considering so many of the singers and musicians did not. There is very little visual documentation out there, only a few films/videos/stills can be found. Someone, probably a Cambodian company post-Khmer Rouge, took original recordings and for whatever reasons added instrumentation. I have spoken to Cambodians who like the new versions but of course any music purist will be disappointed not to be able to hear the music in its original form. That said I am more than glad that so much of the music survived, even the songs with the occasional overdub, given how much of modern Cambodia was destroyed. Somewhere, someone has the original material that the overdubbed music was generated from. My guess is they were adding instrumentation and then selling the music, mostly to Cambodians who never forgot their music, way before Western ears stumbled across this stuff. Perhaps, due to unclear copyright laws, the people initally selling this music choose to remain hidden, as do the original tracks. Hopefully one day they will archive the music properly so everyone can enjoy the originals the way they were intended to be. Until that day we have to be happy with what we can get. There is a very good chance that a few tracks on Electric Cambodia have some overdubs but I am sure Dengue Fever felt that including them was far better then not, otherwise some of these gems might vanish like the people who originally created them.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x93a0ad38) out of 5 stars Phnom Penh's Top 40 16 Feb. 2010
By Amaranth - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
"Electric Cambodia" is a fascinating compilation lovingly pieced together by LA-based Cambodian psychedelic rock band Dengue Fever. The groups and singers flourished during the brief Belle Epoque between independence from France and the brutal rise of the Khmer Rouge. The songs blend traditional Cambodian sensibilities with the current psychedelic rock in vogue. There's surf guitar in "Jasmine Girl",and "I want to shout" sounds like one of Phil Spector's girl groups. The songs are haunting,ghostly;the original recordings came from cassettes. There's something raw and authentic about them.

"Give Me One Kiss","Don't Speak","I will marry you" and "I want to be your lover" are haunting love songs. They are ethereal. It hearkens back to Cambodia's halcyon days. "Jombang Jet","Shave your beard",and "I want to shout" are more joyful. There are tracks with enigmatic names like "Unknown title" and "Unknown artist"--a sad reminder of how the Khmer Rouge ruthlessly eliminated its victims and their identities. "Hope to meet you",by an unknown artist,is a lovely instrumental. The older sister of Dengue Fever's lead singer, Chhom Nimol, went to the painstaking work of matching the songs with titles and artists. The closing tracks, "I will starve myself to death","Unknown Title",and "Cold Sky" are bleakly foreboding. While the opening songs are happy,these final three foreshadow the end to Cambodia's brief Golden Age.

"Electric Cambodia" is a powerful,haunting, beautiful compilation of psychedelic rock. If one likes vintage Cambodian rock,one can listen to:
Cambodian Rocks Volume 1 (3rd Edition)
Cambodian Rocks Volume 2
Cambodian Rocks Volume 4
Radio Phnom Penh

Dengue Fever has covered the "Shave Your Beard" song,and their "Ten Thousand Tears of the Tarantula" was named #2 in the past decade's most influential songs by Rolling Stone--by a member of Metallica no less. Their albums are amazing:
Escape from Dragon House
Venus on Earth

"Electric Cambodia",is,so far,one of the best releases of 2010.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x93a0ace4) out of 5 stars This is an invaluable collection of music 10 Feb. 2010
By A. Ahn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Fourteen tracks of the biggest names in pop and rock music of pre-Khmer Rouge Cambodia. Many of these musicians did not survive Pol Pot's murderous regime, but had they continued to make music, it would've been interesting to see how Cambodian music would've evolved. You can hear the genesis of Dengue Fever's sound in these songs -- great psych jams that take you back to a lost era. You're unlikely to find this music anywhere else, given Cambodian music is no longer what it was. These tracks are particular to the sixties, of which there aren't that many records left.

In regards to complaints about overdubs and tampering: this is not the fault of the band (keyboardist Ethan Holtzman has confirmed this). The band compiled what little music is available (in good condition) in an otherwise coherent and quality package. For critics who are dissatisfied, why not fly out to Cambodia and go crate-digging yourself? See if you fare better.
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