The work of Cambodian-American composer Chinary Ung (b. 1942) represents one of the more successful attempts to accomplish a musical integration of East and West, resulting in a style that is uniquely his own. In general, Ung's music is resplendent with lush romantic harmonies, rhythmic complexities, and lyrical melodic passages, an amalgamation that, together with his own idiosyncratic compositional technique, has evolved over the course of time.
The compositions of Cambodian native Chinary Ung (b. 1942) display mixed elements of European, Asian, and Western musics. ...Ung's music sounds very improvised even though it is written, but the variations of texture and timbre allowed give it the flavor and elements of spontaneous composition. ...The deeper viola sounds on Khse Buon, which was initially written for cello, are exploited by Susan Ung, as she patiently constructs long tones strung together with plucked, percussion inserts; spirited; choppy or spare sounds; and yearning East Indian or Koto-like sounds with Arabic legato.
Though in step with its time, this release suffers from excessive reliance on ambient synthesizers, which litter much of the recording, rendering it only slightly more interesting than many of the Windham Hill new age recordings of the same era. Unfortunate, because the disc opens with strength and gradually peters out by the end. The disc opens with "He Came From the North," which features a melody based on a traditional Lapp joik from the artist's native Norway and progresses into a longer section with an interplay that is both sparse and rhythmic. The sax line here is astonishingly beautiful. The second piece, "Alchuri, the Song Man," a sax and percussion piece, is energetic and lively as well. And from here the energy gradually diminishes. Much can be attributed to popular styles of the time, but this release simply does not stand up to other music of its genre that came later.