January’21 K-Releases

At the end of every month, I’ll be sharing my top three Korean songs or albums that have been released that month. I’ll be focusing on highlighting indie and underground artists creating exciting music and expanding the possibilities of genres, and sometimes a simple beautiful song.

Blooming of love flowers
수잔 Susan [EROS]

A newly discovered artist, Susan has an incredibly powerful voice that lures you into her world. Named after the Greek god of passionate love, Susan’s third EP shares the different sides of love: one-sided love, benevolence, lust, loathing, and ecstasy. In the album description, she describes love as a seed that travels along with the wind and comes to you at a moment you never realize, blooming into a flower so beautiful that it makes you cry or a flower filled with poison. There’s a sense of sweetness—“나른한 오후 포근한 침대에 a sluggish afternoon, in a cozy bed / 네 사랑을 가득 쌓아 놓고 i’m building up your love / 야금야금 배부를 때까지 and i want to eat all your love / 원 없이 너의 사랑을 먹고 싶어 little by little until i’m full / 질리지도 않아 i’ll never get sick of it” (Sugar Blues)—but also cruelty to the point of despair—“또 너에게로 부서지는 중 i’m once again shattering into you / 이 거침없는 파동 the relentless wave /겁도 없는 물결 the fearless wave / 또 너에게로 부딪히는 중 i’m once again hitting against you” (망망대해 Shattered). Each song is a flower of love expressed through its own amalgamation of acoustic, electronica, and R&B as Susan’s voice tugs you into her garden. [EROS] is certainly an album that will roam with me throughout the year.

cupid 화살에 맞았나 나
심장이 막 따가와
네가 예뻐 보여 나
아니 사랑하는 것 같아
내가 바란 게 아니잖아
참 짓궂은 신의 장난
나한테만 쐈나 봐
난 비극은 원치 않아
yeah shoot your arrow

i think i got hit by cupid’s arrow
my heart is burning
you look so pretty
no i think i’m in love with you
this is not what i wanted
what a mischievous play of god
i think he only shot me
i don’t want a tragedy
yeah shoot you arrow

Retourner au moment d’une petite fille
쟈드 Jade — “Mirror”

I first discovered Jade from her first EP [Wallflower] and immediately fell in love with her calm husky voice strumming along the melodic beats, soon the album became a regular loop. Jade, pronounced “jah-de” in a French accent, is a member of biscuit häus, a crew of experimental R&B-focused artists, and an artist who moves through genres of R&B, electro-pop, and acoustic.

She recently released “Mirror,” produced by DJ Didi Han, is one of the two singles featured in the album [Girl]. Just like the title, the album is dedicated to her longing for her younger days of innocence and frivolity, and these sentiments translate into the melodic beats. What I love about “Mirror” (as compared to the other song, “Present”) is the old tape recorder sound that starts the song and the diaristic narrative murmured in French, bringing an intimacy of nostalgia.

The little girl / Baring a bright smile / Now is long gone / Can’t find her in there / She’s not even there

Tu sais j’aimerais tellement
retourner au moment
Quand j’etais petite
Quand je n’avais pas besoin
de penser au consequences
ni au future
Quand je pouvais faire tout
ce qui me passait par la tête
Et ca ne posait aucun problème
Maintenant c’est trop tard
Et ca me manque

You know I would like so much
to return to the moment
When I was little
When I didn’t need
to think of the consequences
or the future
When I could do whatever
I could think of in my head
And that would be no problem
Now it’s too late
And I miss it

Recording the breaths of twelve months and four seasons
전진희 Jeon Jin Hee [Breathing]

[Breathing] is the first instrumental album from the singer-songwriter and pianist Jeon Jin Hee of the balladic pop band Ravie Nuage. Many instrumental albums are often a collection of background melodies, but [Breathing] requires a concentration on each of the songs. They contain her days, looking outside the window and spontaneously running her fingers on the piano keys. She calls it a project born from the need to survive, and each song contains the temperature of the day, the scent of the season, and the emotions inside her as she ran her fingers along the keys. Carefully compiling the Soundcloud recordings into an album, [Breathing] is a beautifully honest and richly sympathetic series.

The new year feels like a continuation of the last, and breathing and the ability to breathe remains pertinent as we continue to navigate the world and act towards change. I’ve been finding solace in Jeon Jin Hee’s notes, enlivening the life and the world that was, and carrying forward into this moment.

Here are my favourite breathings, and you can listen to the full album on Apple Music or on Spotify.