Music » CD Reviews

Various Artists

Music of Nat Pwe: Folk and Pop Music of Myanmar, Vol. 3 (Sublime Frequencies)

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The music made by Nat Pwe, a collective from the country of Burma, ranks among the most bizarre yet beautifully intense sounds ever played. The brightly dressed singers and musicians pound out their tunes on bells, gongs, cymbals, woodblocks, bamboo sticks, xylophone, and pretty much anything else they can get their hands on.

There's a tradition to all the noise, however. Lavish ceremonies are held to appease local restless spirits. Nat Pwe's large assembly of pop and folk musicians celebrates these otherworldly souls — who apparently guide the instrumentalists as they play breathtakingly out-of-control, free-form improv. The loose compositions found on this 16-track set contain intricately performed tracks by a group of artists whose skill and speed frequently reach mind-bending proportions.

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