Randomness #21

As far as blogging goes, I haven’t exactly been productive since returning from my latest Korea trip. Many excuses could be made, but I’m gonna go ahead and blame the cat. Not that I actually own a cat, but during October I was cat sitting for a couple of friends. The cat was super cute and a lot more cuddly than I’m used to, but also required a lot of attention (rightfully so) and was especially keen on getting petted whenever I took out my laptop. Having spent a month primarily watching Netflix while spending quality time with my new best friend, the time has come to at least try to get back to writing.

Recent Listening

As usual while visiting Korea I bought a bunch of CDs. I love CDs. Since coming home I’ve also been listening to a few of them (emphasis on few, as the whole Netflix + cat combination quickly replaced the music + blog set up I had planned) and I was very happy not to be the least bit disappointed with any.

The new Loro’s album, W.A.N.D.Y, has proven to be pretty much perfect. It’s extremely nice and non-intrusive as background music yet when engaging in more active listening there is so much to both please and at the same intrigue the ears. It’s grand work to create something so complex and still manage to make it so approachable. And there’s lots of variety between songs as well. My one complaint would be that this album is a bit too good, as my husband liked it so much he wouldn’t let me listen to anything else for several days.

The next album I got around to playing was Jun Bum Sun and the YangbansLove Songs. “설레임 (The Seven Year Itch)” is clearly the stand-out track for me, possibly because I’ve been listening so much to it previously, but the entire album has the same attractive air making it well worth the time. The release seems to not have received at all as much attention as it deserves, but I would anyway be surprised if I don’t see it on at least one best of the year-list when that time comes.

And before succumbing to other temptations, I engaged we are here‘s self-titled debut EP in some repeated play. Only five songs total, but it offers a lot of variation without. If I get around to writing any best of the year-lists myself this is very likely to be included. Speaking of we are here, one half of the band–composer Bongkwon–released a solo EP, 시간 (時艱), a couple of weeks ago. The sampler as well as the music video for “무명(無名)” makes me think I shouldn’t be missing out on this EP either.


Random News

Some of the most exiting news to reach me in October was that of Tearliner‘s new releases, but that turned into its own post


Other exiting news is that the vinyl release of Jambinai’s first full-length album Différance has finally been confirmed. For the 2xLP edition the album has been mixed again at Mol Studio, home to the band’s favorite sound engineer Cho Sang Hyun, and remastered at JFS Mastering Studio.

While on the subject of vinyls, Kiha & The Faces put out the self-titled second full-length album pressed on black and blue vinyl on October 27th. Limited to only 600 copies the pre-orders had already sold out in most stores before the day of release. Kingston Rudieska also had music released on vinyl during October in Japan and the US respectively, but more about that in a separate blog post (I hope).

And for something else: one of my favorites from the 2012 Ssamzie Sound Festival Hidden Masters auditions, Hyangni, has finally released her first album, 첫사랑이 되어줘. The song with the same name has been promoted with a colorful and vivid music video, that surprisingly has amassed plenty of negative attention from international commenters. Personally I’m enjoying both the song and the video a lot, and as it appears Hyangni has stuck with her characteristic piano sound suspect that I will very much enjoy also the rest of the album.


Blog Stuff

The list of things I want to blog about just keeps growing, but chances are slim that I’ll be able to finish any of it within reasonable time so there’s not really anything to say about that. Instead, I hope you’ve noticed that I’ve put in some time to add things to IROK’s event calendar listing shows by Korean bands abroad. I’m sure plenty are missing still, so don’t hesitate to let me know if there’s anything that should be added (or even better, would like to add something yourself ^^)

And while I have a few things going on that may prevent me from completing any full blog posts another while, I do hope that I will get around to (finally) tweaking a couple of things in particular when it comes to the theme–the size of the text body is a bit too small and some of the headlines are using more space than they ought to.

6 Comments Randomness #21

  1. refresh_daemon

    Never heard of Hyangni before, but her music is pretty quirky. She kind of recalls a bit of Jang Kiha and the Faces in terms of her musical approach if you replaced the folk roots with baroque pop.

    1. Anna

      Will need to consider the comparison a bit longer :) For some reason the first Korean artist that came to mind for me was Hockee, but I haven’t listened to her for many, many years and surprised myself as it’s probably been about as long since I last thought about her. Perhaps it’s time to locate those albums to hear if there’s anything to it.

    1. Anna

      Listening to Sebastian X now for the first time and I can definitely hear the resemblance. I had been thinking of Hyangni as a quirkier version of Akiko Higashikawa with a hint of Regina Spektor.

  2. John Riselvato

    Any experience getting Korean Indie on Vinyl Records? I have a huge collection of Vinyl records and would love to add some K-Indie to it. I saw that Busker Busker put out an album on vinyl but unfortunately it would cost me about 60USD to import it. Which is to much :/

    1. Anna

      Compared to international vinyl, Korean vinyl is more or less ridiculously priced in my experience. But since they are more like collector’s items the packaging often makes up for part of it.

      I’ve been told not to expect too much from the vinyl that has actually been pressed in Korea since the quality just isn’t there even though 180g pressings are the norm. Additionally, from what I understand, many of the albums of the albums released on vinyl have not gotten the re-mastering required to make best use of the format. That said some labels do press abroad and take care to get the proper mastering done so it’s just about

      I’ve been buying a fair bunch of vinyl releases from Korean artists myself and will likely continue to do so–for the packaging if nothing else, as I embarrassingly enough still haven’t gotten around to picking a new player after moving out on my old one.


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