Abduction Releases By
ABDT031 7" single (2005)
Out of print
When Pyongyang Airlines flight 009 from North Korea landed at San Francisco International Airport, the members of Neung Phak stepped defiantly onto the tarmac — clutching the master tapes for their compelling new single "FUCKING USA", which were rushed to Abduction records for immediate release. This is the first recording ever made by "Americans" in Pyongyang's Kim Studios — and it shows!
The extended play B-side features a new version of the Thai classic "TUI TUI TUI" and a journey into experimental pop balladry that is second to none- a radio friendly "Far King USA". This vibrant explosion of color and hatred comes dressed to kill in a beautiful package on the thickest vinyl there is. Neung Phak backsides the forefront once again!
Limited one-time pressing of 300 copies, thick vinyl, and full color picture sleeve.
Side A (45 rpm)
(recorded live on Chicago radio)
Neung Phak (Mono Pause)
Neung Phak is a delicious Lao dish containing steamed chicken, coconut milk, and banana leaves, but is also the tasty and exotic alter ego of Bay Area noise wizards Mono Pause, who in turn share members with absurdist cut and paste legends Negativland. Neung Phak's bedazzling debut, recorded with chanteuse Diana Hayes, is an almost incomprehensibly funky mish-mash of Southeast Asian pop and traditional melodies, served up spicy-hot, East Oakland style. This is what you could be listening to when you move into that cheap apartment overlooking the Chao Phraya River: some roots 'Molarm beat' from the Lao countryside, creamy Khmer ballads and Cambodian Rock, with a dash of Bangkok big city pop. Dig this template of tropical seduction, from rural to urban, through thick sewage and pristine rice paddies, side-steppin' the sex tourist industry just enough to make this disc legal.
Neung Phak is a near-literal translation of Mono Pause, and Mono Pause has been one of the most consistently baffling and persistently impossible-to-categorize bands from the San Francisco Bay Area of recent times.
The group was formed in 1993 by Mark Gergis and Peter Conheim, who along with Mark's brother Erik were exiled to the Bay Area from their native River Falls, Wisconsin after their employment with a local toy manufacturer went sour. Over the past decade, through various experimentations in lineup, the group has carved out a place for itself on the already quite damaged Bay Area underground scene (home to such luminaries and friends as Thinking Fellers Union Local 282, Fibulator, Ubzub, Fuck and many others) through their resistance to sticking to any "format" or "sound". Known just as well for their highly theatrical stage shows, Mono Pause has always flirted with musics from other lands and sprinkled cover tunes and utter reworkings of such music (sometimes of only a single melody learned from a fuzzy shortwave broadcast) throughout their recorded history. A heavy emphasis on instrumentals and improvisation percolates through their discography.
Neung Phak is the logical extension of this work.
The project originally came about via scads of music learned during the Gergis brothers' various trips to Southeast Asia, traceable specifically to the brothers having heard a Bangkok cover band ("The Lucky Band") in a small bar doing one of the bouncy hits of Thai radio at that time (2000, and the song was "Cheer" by the megalithic group Bazoo). Massive research followed, digging up the source of the song they heard that night as well as a treasure trove of other types of music far beyond Thai pop.
San Francisco singer Diana Hayes completed the formation of this new group in 2001. Diana sings and plays bass in Dynasty (whose CD was just issued on Tigerbeat) and has also sung with the semi-legendary trash-rock combo The Roofies, and it was spying her at a Roofies concert which led Mono Pause to ask her to join them for the Neung Phak spin-off.
Neung Phak draws just as heavily from Thai/Lao "Issan" country Morlam, Cambodian songs of years gone by, Vietnamese mini-ditties, Taiwanese pro-recycling jingles, and of course the sounds and smells of their native West Oakland, where their debut CD was recorded in their own studio, as it does from Thai pop. Their disc is a 15-track super-melange of styles, featuring a handful of guest musicians from the Bay Area and from as far away as Laos, with several original songs and improvisations rounding out the array of cover songs.