Monday, February 2, 2015

[update] a quickie.

A quick update.

  • If you have the time, check out this interview Anna over at IndiefulROK did with the lovely duo Kim Sawol x Kim Haewon  that I translated. Their EP was one of my favourite releases of 2014. 
  • ....Speaking of 2014, the "best of 2014" lists are coming. I just need to sort some stuff out first...
  • Another thing that's going to happen (and I promise) - recaps of Unpretty Rapstar. And this time, we will try to make sure that we get through the entire thing. Shouldn't be as difficult, since there will be less episodes. We'll see though. 
  • I recently moved to Chicago. It's a big city and I don't have that many friends. If you are in the area, definitely hit me up and we can talk about silly things like Korean music and food together, maybe. 
Music-wise, recent rotations, among others:
  • The Quiett feat. Saetbyeol "Nothing". Download the track here
  • 18gram's self-titled first full-length album. Listen to "Secret Forest" here. This band is fronted by Ryu In Hyuk of Eastern Sidekick, one of my favourite bands! 
  • From the Airport's first full-length album You Could Imagine was surprisingly disappointing for me, personally. 
  • Purity Ring's latest songs "begin again" and "push pull" from their upcoming 2nd album. I'll be seeing them in June, so excited! 
  • I went to see the Cold War Kids last weekend. I'll also be going to the Pitchfork Festival in July, along with Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds show in May. 

Anyway, let me know if you've listened to anything interesting lately. I've been kind of behind on recent music. 

I'll be back soon! 



Sunday, October 19, 2014

[album reviews] Loro's, Epitone Project, Kim Dong Ryul, Paloalto, and More.

It's been a while since I last posted any type of music review on this blog, but tonight's one of those nights! I'm feelin it! In the last few years, whenever I actually talked about any kind of album/singles it was through my "Best of the Year" posts, which meant that I only ever got around to blogging about music that I really enjoyed. But there are other music that I think is just okay, or that I really dislike! So here we go! Brief reviews (with star ratings out of five, as always) though, because it seems like I have lost the ability to write extensively about anything...



Loro's | W.A.N.D.Y
2014.10.02 | ORM Ent | Mirrorball Music

Oh boy. Loro's finally released their much-anticipated second album after five years of nothing (their last EP, Dream(s), was released in 2009) and the wait was most definitely worth it. I wish I could talk more about this album because there's just so much, so much sounds and words and beautiful things happening, but I probably won't be able to put into words how I feel about this album. How I felt about this album when I listened to it for the first time ever. In its vast sounds, this album reaches out, breaking free of what Loro's was initially known for. There's darkness ("Homo Separatus"), there's light ("여기가 우리 만나는곳"), and ultimately, there's hope ("송가"). What a beautiful album.

★★★★☆


Epitone Project | 각자의 밤 (Each One's Night)
2014.09.16 | Pastel Music | Neowiz Internet

If you've been around for a while, or if you've poked around this blog a lot, you might remember that I wasn't the biggest fan of Epitone Project (Cha Se Jung)'s last album, A Day in a Foreign City. I'm glad that I can say that his latest album is an improvement from that album. There's more variety in this album, and the various female featurings definitely help his music stand out. I also appreciate how he seems to be exploring more genres. This is a solid, easy-listening type of music, well-suited for a sleepless night.

★★★



Wutan & Buggy | Hol!day
2014.09.03 | Stoneship / VMC | CJ E&M

I didn't know much about Wutan or Buggy coming into this but I thoroughly enjoyed it nonetheless! I'm not too familiar with either artists' previous track records (except that Wutan was on the second season of Show Me the Money, also known as that season that I didn't even bother with), but I am definitely looking forward to what they do next. "Blue Lemonade" is a total jam, and although "Watermelon Juice" is questionable (and it features Kimchi Homie Park - are you for real?), this is an addicting album with some really stylish and trendy beats.

★★★☆



Paloalto | Cheers
2014.09.23 | Hi-Lite Records | Neowiz Internet

As expected from Paloalto, a solid, classy album. From the opening track "Forrest Gump" featuring the amazing Mayson the Soul, to the last track "Footprint," this album screams classy all-over with its clean-cut flow and hooks. Paloalto's been around forever but it's admirable how he constantly puts out solid works - his album from last year, Chief Life, was also another notable piece of work. I especially appreciate how he never seems to give in to current trends - he seems to always maintain his style. I don't have any other words for him than classy. He's classy all over.

★★★★



퓨어킴(Puer Kim) | Purifier
2014.09.02 | MYSTIC89 | Loen Entertainment

I've had a lot to say about this album but I've talked so much about it to everyone who ever brought up Puer Kim, I don't want to go too much into it here. I'm not trying to purposefully hate on the album, but as someone who very enjoyed Puer Kim's previous independent releases Mom & Sex and O, this album was a disappointment. On one hand, I'm glad that she's getting the exposure she is getting now with MYSTIC89, but at the same time, I really wish they'd just let her write her own damn songs. She's fully capable of writing captivating music, we've all seen her do that. How MYSTIC89 (/Yoon Jong Shin) seems to be restraining her from writing her own songs is a mystery to me. This EP is not bad - her voice is lovely, and her lyrics are interesting enough. It's just a shame that we can't witness her (original) unique sound on her mainstream debut album, that's all.

★★


김동률(Kim Dong Ryul) | 동행 (Companion)
2014.10.01 | Music Farm | Loen Entertainment

It's amazing what just a simple voice can do. And how after all these years since Kim Dong Ryul debuted in 1993, he maintains the sentimentality that makes his music so attractive. He is one of the most consistent singer-songwriters in the scene, and I find it truly admirable how his music always seem so timeless. There are definitely some weaker songs on this album, but then there are other songs that really get to your heart, like the title track "How I Am," or "청춘 (feat. Lee Sang Soon)," and my personal favourite, "동행," the last track that also shares the title with the album.

★★★



김사월x김해원(Kim Sawol x Kim Haewon) | 비밀 (Secret)
2014.10.10 | Kim Sawol x Kim Haewon | Mirrorball Music

Where have these two been all this time? The duo's first EP together, Secret, is phenomenal. From the very first track "비밀" I knew right away that I was in for a treat. It's a dark chocolate kind of music, at times bitter, at times sweet in a gloomy but sexy kind of a way. The way the two voices come in and out of songs just at the perfect moment is so artfully done, I am floored. Fatal in its simplistic charm, Kim Sawol x Kim Haewon's Secret is definitely one of my greatest finds this year.

★★★★☆


윤덕원(Yoon Dukwon) | 흐린 길 (Faded Path) 
2014. 09.30 | Studio Broccoli | Mirrorball Music

Yoon Dukwon of Broccoli You Too's solo album is at times very different from Broccoli You Too's music, and at times it's not. It seems more concerned with a 90's ballad sentimentality (which becomes blatantly obvious in "신기루") which is a departure from the usual Broccoli You Too music one might be familiar with. But it's refreshing, and definitely fascinating how this is the type of music Yoon Dukwon wanted to make as a solo artist. The sincerity shows, and it's much appreciated.

★★★









Enjoyed/hated any of these albums? Want me to review any other albums? Leave a comment below. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

[translation] Interview with Hitchhiker - from Solo Artist to SM Entertainment Composer. 10Asia, September 2014

Again, instead of doing a myriad of other things I should be doing, I came across a very interesting interview that 10Asia did with SM Entertainment's resident composer, Hitchhiker. I already knew that he was formerly known as Jinu of modern rock band Roller Coaster (with the lovely Jo Won Sun and enigmatic Lee Sang Soon - perhaps most well-known now as the husband of Lee Hyori), but I didn't know much else about him. Then, when he dropped the puzzling video for his "Eleven" few days ago, I was completely, utterly fascinated by the whole deal. What is this disturbing sound? What is this modern art gallery art video aesthetic of the music video? What was this song that people were claiming as the Illuminati's trap? In the interview below which I have translated, he explains and makes sense of a lot of things behind the bizarre project. Among other things, like how Brown Eyed Girls' "Abracadabra" came to be, or how he became an SM composer.

Some highlights from the interview include: how he created the music video for "Eleven" by himself; the disturbing ababa sound in the song being his 3 year-old daughter's voice; how if Krystal, or any other SM artists, weren't so busy, we wouldn't have this gem of a track...

Check out the interview below the cut.



Oh! Hitchhiker! Who are You?
Hitchhiker interviewed by Kwon Suk Jung for 10Asia, September 19 2014