Chinabot founder Saphy Vong cuts an interesting figure – born in a Thai refugee camp to Cambodian parents, his family fled the brutal Khmer Rouge only to find themselves in the suburbs of Northeastern France. This this unlikely path inspired a deep commitment to shifting “the dialogue surrounding Asian music”, and now residing in London, Vong is set to drop an album under newly-coined alias, Neo Geodesia.
Vong’s music is trained from an adolescence steeped in punk and Grindcore, easily identifiable in their confident sonic palate which is noisy and dense – colourful rhythm and endless ideas which jostle, superimposed and juxtaposed in an hallucinatory and joyous abandon. Indeed, 2652 Neon Flames feels like a massive collage, tradition meeting contemporary, loaded and soaked with meaning – two years after the sudden death of his mother, the record relays his experience and process of grieving, collecting and collating sounds from traditional instruments, songs, rhythms, Khmer new year, his mother’s cremation, karaoke and pirated films. He moves, melts and repositions them, with special consideration paid to creating a sensitive and sensible narrative cohesion.
‘Typhoon Ω Moni Mekhala’ resolves from anticipation and frenetic discord into something more dreamlike, with delicately plucked and breathy arpeggios melting into sombre synth-organ – it evokes some massive futuristic requiem and cinematic longing; proto-religious and majestic. The last thirty seconds breaks into gentle but sure rhythm and we’re ushered out accepting and balanced.
Vong has previously released under the alias Lafidki, and coming from grindcore and post-hardcore bands, his presence on labels like Orange Milk makes sense. He is unafraid and unshy when collaging, resolving from within the cut-up fragments of found sound and samples, contextualising within organic instrumentation and abrasive electronics. It’s all to eke out moments of harmonic serenity and delicate melodic motifs.
2562 Neon Flames is out April 11th on Chinabot | Pre-order here