February has been passing by fast. Really fast. It’s already been a month since the previous Randomness post, but as I hope you’ve noticed I’ve anyway kept plenty busy with all the Korean Music Awards related blogging. The original plan was to cover all the nominees in all categories, but after covering just the main award categories I realized that in order to have any chance at even a limited social life outside of work it just wasn’t possible this year. Especially considering that I had a couple of non-KMA post that also needed writing. I hope you’ve anyway been getting into a KMA mode yourself and have taken the opportunity to share your own predictions through IROK’s readers’ predictions poll–the more people who take the poll, the more fun it’ll be to see the results!
The new Sunkyeol album, 급진은 상대적 개념, has delivered in all aspects. Since the start I’ve admired Sunkyeol’s graphical profile as I’ve found it rare to come across any other stylish logos using hangul, and with this album the design aspect of everything that comes with the CD creates a really good first impression. It’s also as nice as it is unusual to see the band’s influences listed in the leaflet. Musicwise there is no reason for disappointment. Exactly the fuzzy, warm sound I expect from Sunkyeol on record and a happy reunion with songs that for some reason were not included on the 2010 EP. It’s the kind of music that makes me want to just cosy up with lots of blankets and pillows while listening and dreaming away, smiling all the while. Fortunately there is not one particular song that has me hooked (unlike “I’ll Write When I’m There” that I literally spent weeks listening to on repeat, effectively rendering me incapable of listening to any other music during the same period) meaning I feel safe to return to the album and playing it all the way through a few times every now and then.
Another release that has seen some repeated play from me the past month is JoJo Blowhard‘s 2013 EP Good Night. I’ve already been plugging his music through the Music Alliance Pact and on Facebook, but feel like it deserves more attention still. There’s something about his vocals that is just plain irresistible to me, especially when he gets into his lower registers yet somehow still manages to keep a light voice. And of course he’s got the melodies & arrangements to go with it. Although I’m still very much enjoying the EP I’m anyway hoping it won’t be much longer before we can also hear some new music from him.
While YouTube is once again my primary source for new music, every now and then I also find out about new awesome music based on new Twitter follows. That’s how I came across Korea-based expat band Language of Shapes that with the description ‘Psych-fi Sci-folk.. With mandolins.‘ seemed simply too good to resist (little known fact: in 2007 I operated a blog in part dedicated to mandolins, although it was discontinued already that summer as my family was not too keen on letting me practice playing mandolin-banjo inside the house and the outside was too full of mosquitos for me to continue pursuit of that interest). I’ve mostly been listening to Mother Mountain, released in November last year, and it’s a well of happiness. Will need to try to catch them live next time I come by Korea.
Other new music well worth listening to is that of Gus Benevolent. This is the new moniker of former 99ANGER leader Hyun Lee, who released his first solo single as Hyun Lee Yang in 2014. Gus Benevolent’s first album bears the title A Thing Called Tomorrow and will be released on April 1st. Already now you can listen to several songs via SoundCloud. The whole album is well worth a listen, but the sucker for fingerpicked guitar that I am the opening track, which bears the same name as the album, is by far my favorite.
In addition to listening to more music this month than I would usually get around to, I’ve been watching tvN drama Heart to Heart (하트투하트). I started it because Tearliner is the music director, and it is for sure one of the best Korean dramas I have ever watched. Or at least it was until episode 12, when one of my least favorite k-drama tropes suddenly appeared. Tearliner has done an absolutely gorgeous job with the music, with every single second serving to enhance the story. It’s been super lovely to hear both old and new Tearliner songs as well as the Low-End Project contributions. I was especially happy in episodes 6 & 7 when a new version showed up of the song which Tearliner so kindly let me use as jingle for the Indieful ROK Spot on tbs eFM’s Indie Afternoon while it was still running. The soundtrack got a digital release on January 30th, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed in hopes of a CD version. And really, really hope that the mess from episode 12 will be resolved quickly in episode 13 so that I can get back to loving this drama with all my heart.
This is the week when the winners for the 12th Korean Music Awards will be announced and you can for sure count on me to cover that. If time permits I’ll also try to publish some genre & gender statistics for the nominees this year to compliment the KMA history posts covering 2004-2014, but I will need to add all the current nominations to my KMA database first. Once the KMAs are over for this year I’ll probably post various KMA statistics on a monthly basis–there are still so many more interesting numbers to look into!