Another year has come to an end, but I’ll save any attempt at a summary until the IROK anniversary post due in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile I’ve been enjoying vacation more than I had expected to, although to be fair I have been working a few hours here and there. The work part has been kept at a sustainable level, but I now stay up much too late and end up sleeping much later than I should, too. Actually going to the office any time soon doesn’t seem all that tempting.
I spent Christmas with family, overeating and relaxing as usual. The best gift this year I gave to myself: uninstall almost all games on both phone and Facebook. On Christmas Eve it was exactly 2 years since I went against my resolution to play games like Candy Crush (or any other Facebook game, for that matter) and I’ve been suffering the consequences since. Candy Crush and Candy Crush Soda Saga were the only 2 games to survive the purge on my phone. I need them to keep in touch with, or at least feel somewhat connected to, friends that I would otherwise only see a couple of times per year. For now. Anyway, as a result, during the past week I haven’t procrastinated at all as much as I would usually do. And as you’ve hopefully noticed it has had a positive effect also on my productivity here on the blog.
After finishing some “new” seasons of TV series I’ve been watching on Netflix, while my husband was otherwise engaged I figured it was time to resume listening to the CDs I picked up while in Korea a few months ago. Next in line was the EP 비밀 from KSWXKHW, or Kim Sawol X Kim Haewon. As I began to listen to the title track I figured this was sadly one of those over-hyped releases that couldn’t quite deliver, but already the second song got me thinking differently. I ended up playing only that one EP on repeat for several hours, picking a new favorite song every time. Amazing.
The next day, before I got a chance to start the CD player again, I received a text message saying that I had a package to pick up. I hadn’t expected such a fast delivery, but there it was: my Audio-Technica LP60-USB. It’s been almost 5 years since I last had a turntable, and a couple of knowledgeable friends had both recommended that I go with a classic Technics SL-1200 this time. As I complained that I couldn’t get a hold of one easily, another friend helpfully suggested that a Technics SL-1500 could be just as good. When my husband rejected the idea that we get a PS4 after Christmas, I decided it was time to finally get something to play our vinyl instead. I’m no good with auction sites and the first few new options I looked at were all pricier, but after reading plenty of reviews and considering my actual needs I figured this cheap option would be good enough.
The first record to take a spin was Jambinai‘s Différance. I followed up with a few great 7″ singles I haven’t listened to in years; and a couple of 12″ releases I’d never been able to listen to at all. Then it was back to Jambinai. Now I don’t want to claim that everything sounds better on vinyl, but at least to me there is an undeniable feeling of warmth that is sort of built into the format. Of course it could also be the new mixing, or the remastering, but I don’t think Jambinai ever sounded as good on record as they do on the vinyl edition of Différance. It’s like I never even listened to the album before!
Although I thought I had my favorite songs all clear, “Paramita, Pt.2” brought me right back to the most memorable dance performance I’ve ever seen–a scary yet enthralling modern dance display set to live music from Jambinai–leading me to play that side of the second LP over and over. “Connection” still remains my biggest favorite on Différance though. The vinyl version of the song was used for the beautiful music video, which became available on YouTube shortly after 2015 had reached Korea.
Part of my newly claimed free time I’ve been using to read a lot more articles than I would otherwise find time for. Over Christmas that meant a lot of The Interview related issues, wherein one detail deserves particular attention for fans of Korean indie music: Yoonmirae‘s agency Feel Ghood Music is suing DFSB (and Sony) over the unauthorized use of “Pay Day” in the controversial movie. I know absolutely nothing about what the consequences for DFSB as a whole coud be if the suit is successful, but I found that particular piece of information noteworthy as DFSB is the company that brings the Seoulsonic tour to North America every year, and in the past has also ensured that Korean artists get to play at Music Matters in Singapore as well as MIDEM in France.
In positive news, my favorite Tearliner is doing the music director thing again! This time for romantic comedy drama Heart to Heart (하트투하트), which will be broadcast on tvN Fridays and Saturdays starting January 9th. As so often when Tearliner gets involved, the PD is Lee Yoon Jung of Coffee Prince fame. Dramabeans offers plenty more information. Definitely something I’ll be interested in watching myself!
Also on January 9th, esteemed folk singer-songwriter Kim Doo Soo is set to release his 6th full-length album, Dance of Hunchback (곱사무舞). It’s been a full 6 years since the release of 5th album 열흘 나비, but whereas it was only released in Japan, until September 2014, the new album gets a Korean release right away. A vinyl edition, limited to 1000 copies, has already been scheduled for release in March.
And to sort of prove my point that year-end lists should be compiled only after the year is actually over, Seoul Electric Band presented 3rd full-length album 꿈이라면 좋을까 on CD December 31st. The previous recordings from the band have all been noteworthy, and with Shin Yoon Chul still at the helm nothing short of excellence is to be expected even with two new members.
On the blog front, I started a new project a few days ago as it’s almost time for the Korean Music Awards again. I’m building a database with all the nominees (and winners) of previous years for easy answers to questions such as “Did any artist win Artist of the Year without winning in one of the genre categories?” and “Which artists with more than 2 wins have won every time they were nominated?” etc. The database is designed and ready, so now I’m taking some time here and there to insert all the data (though I’ve come up short on nominees for the genre categories in 2004, so any help there would be appreciated!).
Initially I intended to make it possible for anybody to query the database, but I’m not particularly skilled in the GUI design department so the first output of this work will most likely just be some KMA themed posts here on this blog. If you have any specific questions of the same kind that you would like to see answered feel free to let me know!