In 2010, there was a protest by the Red Shirts, or United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), to oust the government from the coup d’etat that occurred in 2006. At the protest, the rally was dispersed by armed soldiers, causing a large number of injuries and deaths.
The upcoming album ‘Kongkraphan’ —meaning Invulnerable— was made to present the forgotten voices and sounds of unjustified wrath. The sound used was taken from the video clips recorded by the demonstrators from the actual incidents. All video and audio clips are testimonies used in court proceedings to find the culprit at the time, so as to reveal the truth and restore justice to the deceased demonstrators. It’s a mix of Noise music: the confusion and sadness occurring at the protesting sites, the rhythm that shakes the nerves, the rhythm of intense rage.
In short, this album of Pisitakun contains a variety of anger, sadness, confusion, as well as the power of joy and hope to change the country —the driving force of the demonstration in 2010.
‘Kongkraphan’ is the name of a type of Thai talisman that gives the power to be invincible. In this album, the term stands for the ideology and battle of the people in the protest that has never faded. It’s still invulnerable, passing down the philosophy from generation to generation until today. There are 8 tracks with titles taken from the date of the protest events and arranged chronologically according to the time span of the incident.
Track list with description
On 10/04/2010, the military started sweeping the protesters from 2pm with tear gas and fired with rubber bullets
The song starts with a male voice saying, “Why are you shooting? I’m going to die by now.”
From 6 pm until midnight, the military began to use live ammunition, sniper and war weapons to disperse the protests at area 4, Kok Wua Intersection and nearby areas. Causing a large number of deaths and injuries.
In the song at 3:00, the male voice “Damn you, fuck Mother fucker”
*24 people died that day.
On 13/05/2010, the protesters continued to rally after 10/04/2010. They moved to gather at Ratchaprasong Road and nearby areas such as Lumphini Park, Bon Kai, etc., which make it a lot easier to ensure safety and security of the protesters. Despite that, the dissolution of the protest continued. By around 1pm while Seth Daeng (Kad Red Shirt Leader) was giving an interview at Silom MRT station, on Lumphini site, he was shot by a sniper in the head, causing death.
The song begins with the sound of the reporter who interviewed Seth Dang at the incident.
Later that night. Another person died at the opposite side of Lumphini Park.
The first part of the song stops, the second part of the song begins at 1:18, the reporter’s voice, talked about another deceased.
2:45 A man’s voice shouted, “Quickly, quickly, come quickly.”
3:14 A male voice said, “He is dead, he is dead.”
3:40 A man shouts, “Someone got shot, someone got shot.”
*2 people died that day.
On 10/10/2010 The dispersal and killing of demonstrators began at 11am around central Bangkok. Later that night, after midnight, a 12-year-old child was shot and killed.
This song is filled with the sound of the ambulance siren because it was the first day that the military began to heavily use violence against the protesters like after 10/04/2010 causing many deaths.
Live ammunition area (killing area) started from morning until late at night. Most of the deaths happened at night.
In the song at 1:18, a woman reporter’s voice said, “The sound of gunfire occurs periodically. The sounds occurred the most between 11pm to 1am”. The sound during 1:27 is the voice of reporter who was reporting that “Most of the bullet marks shows that those shots were aimed at an expected range.”
*2 people died that day.
On 15/05/2010, the military started killing the protesters early in the morning. Starting at 7am and around 8am, a 17-year-old was killed. Meanwhile, the Thai news agency from the military at that time has spread the news that the protesters have firearms but in reality, the protesters had no weapons. In the evening, one of the medical nurses was shot. While another man was coming to help the wounded person, he was then also shot himself. Both of them died at the same location.
The song begins with a reporter talking about the protesters that he has never seen the protesters use guns not weapons as the Thai news agency of the military reported. The next sound was a woman’s voice saying, “I want to know how he did it. My nephew was wearing his uniform (nurse uniform) and was holding up a sign (medical unit sign). He went to help those who were injured. So why did they shoot? How could they do it? What do they have in mind? It was a person; it was the life of a person.”
The bombardment took place day and night. In the middle of the night, a car was driving through the protest area. The driver was shot dead in the car, his head fell on the horn of the car.
In the song at 3:32 is the sound of the car horn which was recorded from the date of the incident. So long that it seemed endless because no one dared to help the deceased while he was lying on the horn of his car.
*11 people died that day.
The dissolution of the protest continued into the fifth day. Despite the large number of deaths, it did not seem like it would ever stop.
The melody of sorrow and the sound of people screaming and crying continued slowly.
*8 people died that day.
The government at that time said that this was the only way to stop the protest because most of the protesters are terrorists.
*3 people died that day.
The government and the military were able to control the area around Ratchaprasong Road and made the surrounding area a permissible killing area if someone goes in that area. The military can shoot them immediately without any question.
*1 people died that day.
On the last day of the dissolution of the protest, the military rushed into the backstage of the protesters. The protesters tried to flee to hiding in a temple next to a shopping mall, but the military continued to shoot at them. Even in the temple area, the military used snipers to shoot from the BTS sky train station above the temple.
*19 people died that day.
Produced by Pisitakun
Recorded and Mixed by Pisitakun in 2022 in Porto, Portugal
Mastered by Vandy Rizaldi (Agensi 56) in Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Cover artwork by Pisitakun Kuantalaeng
Pisitakun is a Thai visual artist who started playing music with an interest in how expressions shape under different media environments. Historical events, synthetic sounds, and musical instruments inspire his songs. Pisitakun’s practice represents a decisive break from many of his Thai peers in time when the country’s history unfolds under an ongoing martial law since the military coup d’état on 22 May 2014 —he questions fundamental and increasingly universal values without merely decrying the fact of corruption or offering neat palliatives. His works are based on political speculation and the external and internal frustrations artists are subject to.
He has performed at CTM Festival (Berlin, Germany), Asian Meeting Festival (Tokyo,
Japan), MEIA (Aveiro, Portugal), Spaziomusica Festival (Cagliari, Italy), Cafe
OTO (London, UK), and SHAPE+ platform 2022. Most of his sound works are self-released and on Cambodia/UK label Chinabot. He is currently selected for an artist residency at DAAD Artist-in-Berlin Music & Sound 2023.