The Cambodian Space Project
CSP have travelled light years since discovering lead singer Srey Channthy in a Cambodian bar in 2009. In 2010 they shook up history with the country’s first vinyl since the Khmer Rouge took power of the country (and raped its culture) in 1975. The suggestively titled Déjà Voodoo was released on Hong Kong label, Metal Postcard, who then signed them for a debut that became the cheeky, 2011: A Space Odyssey. They embarked on an epic year-long tour that saw them hitting up over 80 dates and festivals in Australia, the UK, the USA, Hong Kong and Europe. And now their second album, produced by Nick Cave-stalwart and PJ Harvey-producer Mick Harvey, is currently in final vox mix in Melbourne.
But what has made Cambodian Space Project one of the brightest stars of Southeast Asian rock? Perhaps launching them into orbit is their willingness to rent a big old Cambodian bus, drive over the potholed clay highways and play to villagers, temples and schools. Or maybe it’s their rather unique mix of long-lost Cambodian pop, psychedelic warping and surf-rock sensibilities, all topped with Channthy’s lilting, Jeff-Buckley-inflected siren’s voice that guides your heart through twists and turns like the Mekong River. Maybe it also has something to do with the global wave of popularity following Southeast Asian throwback tunes. Or perhaps the resonance of Channthy’s story, including her escape from attempted kidnapping by sex traders and eventual random discovery as an angelically voiced waitress.
This fortnight, Cambodian Space Project play Hong Kong for the third time in a stripped back acoustic set. Since their last touchdown in our city, their talents have risen meteorically, and we expect at the Fringe Club it may be the last chance to say, ‘I saw them before they were huge’. It seems they may well be going that way.
The Cambodian Space Project play Fringe Club on Thu May 17. Tickets: 2521 7251; www.hkfringe.com.hk.