Café INDIEpendent, Scunthorpe 2015, a seemingly incongruous location for the Cambodian Space Project’s first gig of their UK tour.
Scunthorpe was a once thriving town build on the iron and steel industry. The grim, empty, moribund High Street had seen better days, with an abundant number of ‘for sale’ and ‘to let’ signs hung from the shopfronts.
I turned to the bar and Julian is Poulson ordering drinks; am I the only person who recognizes him from the BBC documentary ‘Rocking Cambodia: Rise of a Pop Diva’ broadcast earlier in the year? I introduce myself to him as a new fan from Nottingham, he introduces me to the stunning Channthy – who had mysteriously materialized leaving me dumbstruck.
A dimensionally transcendental event is occurring, I’ve got a bottle of Steamer in hand, and I’m transfixed by the sublime voice to the stage. The originally small empty venue now huge, full and pulsating with gleeful musicophiles.
The otherworldly sound of Channthy’s vocals with abrupt changes in notes along an astronomic range fills her songs with emotional power, while Julian’s punchy controlling guitar fuses perfectly to give the band an ethereal expressive energy.
The Cambodian Space Project are a force that is reigniting the Cambodian psychedelic musical genre of the 60s and 70s and is levering open a galactic door into the unknown mystical world of the Khmer culture. Two encores later, the fusion-powered CSP time vortex had thrown us back out into our own dimensional plane, the venue contracted to its original size, the sounds subsided. Channthy and her band dematerialised into an interstellar cloud of dry gas.
I was walking alone again down the dark and deserted Scunthorpe High Street. Something had happened within me, if not a regeneration, certainly some type of rejuvenation, an expansion of my horizons, I was now on a mission to understand more.