Saehansori, new experimental music from South Korea
Sit back, dim your lights and relax. Come down to the shady underground of South Korea. Vatican Analog picked out twelve artists from the South Korean bustling scene of experimental electronic music - diverse, but always connected with the noisy spirit of Vatican Analog: electro-acoustic warmth, rusty industrial cold, weirdly psychedelic, excitingly dark, randomly analog, mashed up digital or other divinity that pleasure or torture your ears and soul. We're happy to present this diverse group of artists that are already ruling or promise to rule at least the local scene of awesomeness, that still is expanding with new regular and irregular initiatives that show Korea deserves more attention for its exciting underground electronic music scene.
1. Jo Young-min
One of the most active regulars at Seoul's main home for experimental improvised music, Yogiga. Jo is at his best when he creates mesmerizing dreamlike worlds - sometimes melancholic, sometimes carefree, sometimes eerie. Also known as a frequent collaborator with local and visiting artists.
With his latest release Persistence (Vatican Analog does recommend this album) Chang Park delivered a fine piece of sweaty dusky ambient haunted with subtle aggressively pushing beats. It's just one of his variable sound presentations. Interactive installations, performances, and compositions; Park investigates sound from a psychoacoustics perspective as a subliminal communication between object and space. The Korean new media man was based in Baltimore but recently moved to Berlin - still keeping connected with Korea, as this piece was released on the Korean beats label WSR Trax. Endless is one of the tracks of this album.
Traditional Korean spirits meet with hypnotizing electronics and drums in this occasional project by improviser Kanghee Choi, Australian based Korean percussionist Sang-sik Sung and traditional vocalist Yoonchae Seo. Sea has been actively perform in both the Pansori scene and the traditional musical theater scene. While experimenting her voice with the variety of sounds and musical styles, to study deeper, she is currently in Master's program in Pansori.
Composer, improviser and multimedia artist Kang-hee Choi moved to New York City in 2008 to study Forensic psychology, but after experiencing the New York music/art scene, he decided to become a professional musician. In the same year, his first contemporary classical music piece for 4 Guitars, <The Moon, the Lake and the Butterfly> was premiered along with the new pieces of world renowned composers such as Terry Champlin, Allen Brings, David Loeb and Ornette Coleman. Since then, he has been experimenting new sounds and performing with many other artists including musicians, dancers, painters, and filmmakers around the world.
4. Cumeo Project
Slightly tired of the rock scene, Sang min Choi and and Kwang ho Song decided to quit their often gigging band to enter the realms of moody ambient guitars, glitch beats and electro-acoustic warmth. Inspired by old guitar ambiances of Paul Desmond and the like, mixed with the love for Warp Records stuff makes Cumeo Project a gem that could go along acts like Boards of Canada or Future Sound of London. The track Misty doors was made for Gagatrack’s dazzling audio visual performance The Doors of Perception.
5. Barely Sustaining
The youngest contributor (17 as we write) for the Saehansori compilation can't go out and drink alcohol yet, and maybe that's why Kim Eun-ho is so productive and exploring his talents to the max. Dubstep, house, hiphop, ambient and, lucky for us, also some darker ambient and soundscapes. Already able to make this premium sounding material we are very curious what the near future will bring for Kim.
6. Samin Son
Intense and confronting, Samin Son is definitely the most physical performer among the Saehansori contributors. His practice traverses different mediums - painting, installation, sound and video - with performative strategies. Born and raised in South Korea, he now is based in Wellington, New Zealand. Still, experiences from Korea shape an important part of the drive behind his works, like military aggression and endurance experienced during his conscription time in Korea. Son has exhibited his work and traveled his performance pieces widely throughout New Zealand and internationally - in Germany, the US, Taiwan, Seoul and Tokyo.
In-june Park a.k.a. (DJ) Azoozy started his musical career in 1999 as composer and arranger for Korean pop and indie singers. He studied art at Hongik University, famous for its arts studies, and collaborated in numerous multimedia projects. It's hard to summarize Azoozy's styles as his output consists of a great variety of genres like psychedelic rock, industrial dance, folk and noise. Saehansori's track Rage Against The Digital is an analog war, which was a audiovisual live performance.
Synthesizer addict Shin Hang is mostly known as part of the duo Ninano Nanda - as Dubputer he abuses his collection of analog hardware even more severe to create a juicy mix of lo-fi noise, beats, ambient, dub and psychedelica. In his special Saehansori-contribution Requiem for the tape 1980, Shin goes back to the recording of the sound of a pipe organ his father just repaired. The lost reel traveled 33 years from place to place until it got deconstructed and reconstructed into this wicked loop-recording.
Damirat: breaking down barriers between warehouse dance & high experimented electronic music since 2006. Damirat is the energetic vehicle of broken beats, dark IDM and industrial lovers Sung-Hoon Shin and Chang-Hee Kim. Before Damirat Sung-Hoon studied Musical Technology at Newcastle Universtiy and Chang-Hee was a member of the Korean IDM-duo Toxicbiasfleurivy. Determined to boost the scene in Seoul, these guys are curating the well respected monthly experimental electronic nights in Mudaeryuk in Seoul, WATMM. Be sure to check out their latest EP <iraer, tiaroe>, released at one of Seoul's most interesting experimental electronics platform Audiolog.
The only lady on this compilation: the young Yoon Da-eun explores her fascination for the aesthetics of sound. Improvisation on piano, playing with randomized patterns, field recordings - but Da-Eun is also co-producing in the techno/house group MuteLab.
Hybrid-crossbred, is one term Odaeri likes to describe his odd sounding expeditions. We could come up with a few more of such suitable labels: aggressive anti-music, surreal nihilism, broken spaceship scores, fuck logic and you too-sound cabinets, and so forth. Be sure to check out his videos to complete the oddness (like this masterpiece). As for producing, he finds delight in combining and recreating certain sound or image using worn, abandoned, outdated equipment (or sound) that seem no one will hardly give a look. Never a dull moment with Odaeri, who's one of the people connected to the Seoul based label Helicopter Records.
Tschaan is the moniker of Chankyu Sung, visual artist, sound designer. Sung is also one of the thriving powers behind the label Vakdong Records, a platform he also likes to use to collaborate with many other artists from different backgrounds in fine art, new media, conceptual art and literature. His adventures in sound brings his listeners into underground catacombs full of smokey rooms, visiting aliens, chill out zones and slow disco dancefloors. For Saehansori Tschaan contributed a narrative piece from the 2013 Vakdong release 'Daily Abstract, Seoul' where his sound is complimented with the poetry by Yijung.