Friday, November 2, 2012

[album review] 꿈에 카메라를 가져올걸 (kumca) - 소실

꿈에 카메라를 가져올걸 (kumca) - 소실
released: april 18, 2012

1. 비상구 *
2. 오후 세 시 *
3. 476-20
4. 테러 *
5. 소실 (bonus track)
6. 냄새 (bonus track)

* recommended tracks


"꿈을 꿨다. 꿈속에서도 이 꿈은 기록해야겠다는 생각이 들었다. 그래서 카메라를 찾기 시작했고, 그 동안 꿈은 조금씩 지워지고 있었다. 거실을 기어다니면서 카메라를 찾다가 꿈이 끝나버렸다. 결국 카메라도 찾지 못했고, 꿈도 꾸지 못했다."
"I dreamed. Even in my dream I knew I had to record this dream. So I started looking for my camera, while that dream was slowly fading away. The dream ended when I was on my knees in the living room, looking for the camera. In the end, I couldn't find my camera, and I couldn't dream." -- EBS Space introduction. 

꿈에 카메라를 가져올걸 literally translates to "I Should've Brought a Camera to My Dream". 꿈카 (Kumca) for short. In their debut EP 소실, they show us a glimpse of their dream world, a place where things are faded, lost, and all a bit strange.

어디에서 왔니 어제도 있었니 날 기억하니 이제는 어디로 가니 나에게 묻니 이젠 이젠 이젠 일어나 일어나 일어나 어디로 어디로 어디로 나가서 나가서 나가서 이젠 어디로 이젠 어디로 어디 어디 어디 이젠 어디로
where did you come from were you here yesterday do you remember me where do I go now are you asking me now now now wake up wake up wake up where where where out out out now to where now to where where where where now to where -- "비상구" (Emergency Exit)  

Their album title 소실 means "disappear". And the act of disappearing is a main theme throughout the EP where everything seems to be disappearing slowly. I'm fading away, as can be heard in "비상구"(Emergency Exit). Everything around me is fading away ("476-20"). And even you, and my memories of you, are fading away ("냄새"(Smell)). We are all in the process of disappearing. But nothing is rushed. Nobody's terrified. If they are, it's with a sense of irony, a sense of skepticism. Even the title track, aptly titled "테러"(Terror), seems to portray a sort of staged, sarcastic horror at everything disappearing around us.

Because we know it's a dream.

꿈속에 웃고 있던 네 모습
난 다시 보기 위해 눈을 감네
the image of you smiling in my dream
I close my eyes to see it again --
"오후 세 시" (3pm) 

Seamlessly threading the theme of dreams into their 6 songs, Kumca artfully creates a fascinating body of music that is consistent and endearing. Their music is never still. It's always flowing to some place, although the destination isn't particularly apparent, as can be heard in the drowning instrumentals and direction-less lyrics of the first track "비상구" (see above for lyrics). Following track "오후 세 시" (3pm) is probably the most upbeat song of the album, with its oddly catchy beats and seemingly hopeful lyrics (at the place you love the place we used to be / I'm standing at that place / if I can at least see you in my dreams / so I can feel you at least once / I sing this song / perhaps you will come and hear me). "476-20" is the most drowsy song of them all, starting out with static noises that lead to the melancholy guitar riffs. Vocal Park Yeon's dim murmuring of different neighbourhoods of Seoul adds to the drowsy atmosphere of the song.

The title track, "Terror", is probably one of the strongest songs on the EP. This song has a harder sound to it than the other songs, with more intense electric guitar effects. Park Yeon's voice shines in this song, at times barely audible and at times right in your face, and always mixing quite masterfully with the band's sounds.

The two bonus tracks are a nice touch but unfortunately they do not add to the album's value. The first of two bonus tracks, "소실" is a short but fascinating track that seems to be slightly out of place with its dark twisted sounds. The second bonus track "냄새" is a decent song, upbeat similar to "오후 세 시" but with the harder rock sound of "Terror" mixed in. Unlike the previous songs though, the words in this album are extremely hard to understand and the whole song feels uninspired compared to the rest of the album.

The post-rock influenced sound is prevalent throughout the album and it's so perfect for the overarching theme of the songs. Park Yeon's voice is just perfectly airy and it really goes well with the distorted sounds of the instrumentals. My only concern with the EP was the quality of the recordings, which often failed to fully show the different layers of the songs. (The acoustic guitar was barely audible in many instances.) At the same time, the jumbled sound of the recording also seems to reflect the band's music quite well, so I guess nothing's really lost in this album.

Kumca seems to be in the line to succeed other prominent 'shoegaze' bands of Korea like Vidulgi OoyoO and Loro's. However, what makes them stand out from the other bands is their underlying theme of dreams and their fantastical lyrics. And I almost feel that the band defies the term 'shoegaze' - their gaze is geared towards the world of their dreams, just like the album cover (which is possibly my favourite album cover of the year). Dreamgaze. That's more fitting, I think.

Kumca - "비상구" (Emergency Exit)

Kumca - "테러" (Terror)


  1. It's been quite some time since they released this album (and since you've written the review), but do you have any idea how I could get this album? I saw them live last year, loved them, but was reduced to torrenting... I'd really like to support the band though. Any help would be much appreciated, thank you!

    1. I don't think they're up for purchases anymore, unfortunately :( this album had a very limited physical release and sold out pretty quickly. I believe you can still get their second EP ShuShu though!