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The Leng Pleng Gig Guide comes out on a Thursday or Friday of every week

Weekly Wrap - Week Commencing Thursday the 24th July 2014

"In composition you have all the time you want to decide what to say in 15 seconds, in improvisation you have 15 seconds." - Steve Lacy, jazz saxophonist and composer.

Electric Universe continue their long-running residency at Meta House this evening. The band is a special collaboration between Tim King, James Speck and DJ Nicomatic. These guys only play together as a group once per month and the music is always completely improvised and purely instrumental. Live electric guitar and phrase synthesiser are combined with recorded beats and sounds emanating from the DJ's turntables. Just to mix things up a little bit more, Electric Universe also regularly invite other musicians to jam with them. At this gig, the audience never knows what is going to happen next – expertly-executed guitar riffs, wildly oscillating synthesiser figures, warped, down-tempo beats or even, sometimes, extended periods of cacophony and white noise. The improvisational framework results in a journey through musical peaks and troughs. Long periods where nothing much happens evolve into frenzied and funky jams. There is a palpable air of excitement in the room when the musicians arrive in sync at the next newly-formed, unplanned groove. The music of Electric Universe may not be to everyone's taste and it would be hard to see the format working in most Phnom Penh venues – but in the very cool and laid back artist's mingling space of the Meta House upstairs bar, it makes perfect sense.
Olga, Ramirez & Ten Tipz, pic courtesy of artist

Friday sees three fairly fresh bands all playing sets around Phnom Penh at the same time. I have tried being in three places at once before but it didn't work out very well. So that means I will have to choose between Bacano at Paddy Rice, Pavel & The Ten Tipz at Sharky Bar and Sinville Roadshow at Slur Bar. Sinville are vocal-guitar duo Tiffany and Simon, formerly based in Sihanoukville, now taking Phnom Penh by storm. In the process the band have expanded to comprise the hugely experienced Alex on bass and the hugely versatile Julien on drums. You can catch their extensive repertoire of classic, soulful rock every Thursday at Sharky Bar and on Saturday at Riverside Bistro.

Pavel Ramirez returns to Sharky's on Friday without his recently-departed musical partner Olga Andreeva but retaining the fantastic and in-demand rhythm section known as TenTipz. This trio of dedicated musicians are serious about rehearsing and performing and it shows in their polished stage show of Latin and rock numbers. Swedish-Chilean frontman Pavel handles vocals and guitar while Cambodian youngsters Ten and Tipz provide bass and drums. TenTipz look barely out of their teenage years - yet they play with the skill and authority of veterans... but then, when it comes to Latin music, they did learn from Phnom Penh's own 'El Gipsy'.

Diego DiMarques - pic courtesy of artist

Diego Dimarques spent months schooling his band in the intricacies of his flamenco-inspired set. Diego's Nomad Trio performs at Oscar Rock Cafe this Saturday (no, Oscar hasn't opened a third venue – Oscar Rock Cafe is the latest moniker for the venue formerly-known-as 'Oscar 51', 'Diver Club' and a further variation on 'Diver Club' that I would rather not repeat here but which attracted a lot of giggles and 'selfies' from tourists passing by the venue's exterior sign). Diego's style of playing guitar and singing is so relaxed he makes difficult techniques that take many years to perfect look natural and easy.

Bacano bring an updated Latin music style to FCC – The Mansion on Saturday night. The venue has continued to provide a succession of great outdoor shows this year, well into the rainy season. Mysteriously, the elements always seem to comply with best expectations and, as if by magic, the rain stops and a crowd of gig-goers appears just before show-time. Bacano's show will hopefully be no exception. Chino De Nogales' sextet have a happy-psychedelic vibe that has invited comparison with The Grateful Dead. The Spanish-language vocals are refreshing and their show is a lot of fun.

One more shout goes out to one of the local music's scene's favourite son's - Scott Bywater and, former rhythm guitarist from the Cambodian Space Project, Irene Chuon. Please join Scott and Irene as they celebrate the birth of their daughter Leanorah in Nantes, France this week. 

Until next time..... see you around the traps!



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