Published Aug 01, 2005Jungle music. Those words are loaded with negative connotations, but in this case nothing could be more descriptive. The Thai Elephant Orchestra create their sounds in a sanctuary near Lampang, Thailand. Playing large-scale, custom-made aerophones and xylophone-like instruments, their repertoire is rooted in Thai folk tunes, but also includes music by Beethoven and Hank Williams. The orchestra is the project of conservationist Richard Lair and avant-garde violinist David Soldier. Soldier also guests on their latest recording, Elephonic Rhapsodies, their second disc for Mulatta Records (www.mulatta.com). Half of the disc's net profits go toward the centre's operation, but the music itself? It's not without its charm; it lumbers along with a slow logic punctuated by occasional extemporaneous trumpeting. As far as animal music goes, it certainly kicks more ass than whale song, and is easier on the ears than those damned dogs who bark Christmas carols.