Thai experimental artist Pisitakun Kuantalaeng is a purveyor in noise, folding personal loss with the fraught recent political upheaval of his native Thailand. As well as touring and performing live, Pisitakun sculpts sound within multimedia installation art; his debut album Black Country, beginning in 2016 and completed in the following year, is the result of over four years of contextualising traditional music in electronic soundscapes.
Pisitakun’s journey as a solo artist began in 2014 around the time of the military coup d’etat in Thailand, in which freedom of speech and the people’s ability to criticise the Thai monarchy was threatened with more punitive prison sentences. For artists like Pisitakun, the need to be more nuanced in their public output became necessary, with his artworks regularly coming into contact with the police authorities. On Black Country, released on Chinabot records, the mix between industrial textures with marching rhythms and military generals shouting created an ominous work reflecting the contemporary turmoil.
His latest album SOSLEEP, released in 2018, is a highly personal recording, meditating on the passing of Pisitakun’s father. The textures at disposal expand from Black Country to include traditional mourning instruments plus hospital machinery which kept his father alive for his final days. “I was feeling empty and in grief,” Pisitakun says. “Everything around me was moving in an eccentric way, sometimes too fast, sometimes too slow. This album kind of acted as a religious hymn in my life.” At once psychedelic and yet at times austere, the musical works of Pisitakun Kuatalaeng strike at the very heart of the human condition through introspective sonic environments.