Splice has released a psychedelic sample pack made by Thai super band YAAN in collaboration with producer Sunju Hargun and Thailand Music Maker Studio. The sample pack is a part of Sonic Collective, Splice’s eclectic label focused on acoustic and live instrumentation from around the globe.
YAAN or ญาณ are a collective of Thai musicians who re-interpret ancient instruments and heritage from around the planet and manifest sounds into a form of futuristic sonic storytelling.
Since the band released their first single ‘naam’ (meaning ‘water’) in 2012, the outfit has changed to now consisting of eight members, only two of whom are founding members (Nop and Yong).
Through contemporary and ancient instruments, their diverse musical backgrounds merge into a unique space that comprises modular synthesis, jazz, western classical music, classical Indian music, Latin percussion, African drumming, modular synthesis and Thai music styles… just to begin.
The band is made up of a plethora of instruments and sound formats, thanks mostly to the musicians claiming multi-instrumentalist status: Chawalit Saowapakpongcha is behind the violin, guitar and percussion; Noparuj Satjawan on sitar and percussion; Kontun Pitukpon on keyboards, khan, phin and pi phutai roots; Noppakorn Worratanitkitkul on electric and acoustic guitar; Thinnawat Thaitae explores a range of percussion including djembe, dun dun and the taiko drum; Nonthikorn Samakkarn commands the electric bass; Thakoon Boonma flows with the bansuri, balafon, dun dun and various percussion; Tommy Hanson is in charge of sound dubbing, looping and blending in modular synthesisers.
When it came to piecing together a unique sample kit under the umbrella of ‘psychedelic Thai sounds’, Tommy Hanson assembled YAAN, together with forward-thinking producer and co-founder of the Siamese Twins label, Sunju Hargun, at the Thailand Music Maker Studio.
Hanson has lived in Bangkok for over a decade, gradually immersing himself in the capital city’s independent music scene; touring and producing with some of the country’s most prolific bands, Hanson is a part of Thai reggae outfit Srirajah Rockers, as well as being the dub engineer for Sticky Rice. He also performs with YAAN, and runs an ambient guitar side project called Para Sabda.
When speaking about making Thai music, Hanson makes an analogy to the country’s gastronomy by saying, “Thai music, like its food, is a fusion of ancient influences pushed beyond recognition and a celebration of extremes. Some kind of slow calm disposition, perhaps a combination of Thai stick, massage, Buddhist meditation and the hot tropical climate clashes with a trance like hi-speed acceptance of death, love for funky fish sauces, caffeine, motorcycles and everything sweet and spicy.”
That description fits the result of several months of continuous experimentation and recording in a jovial Bangkok studio setting.
Hanson and Hargun’s supportive and directive roles in the making of the YAAN Thai Spirit sample pack are highly prevalent in futuristic and ethereal results that can be listened to here.
Arun Ramanathan is Mixmag Asia’s Director. Follow him on Instagram.