February’21 K-Releases

Three indie artists spanning genres of ballad, rock, and folk blues.

A ringing in the forest
다린 Darin [숲 Forest]

Darin’s voice rings with sorrow. But it’s not complete sadness, rather a ringing around the eye rim at the verge of tears for longing, or the twinkle in the eyes gleaming at the sky. The album intro describes a forest as a landscape when time becomes a place that cannot be defined. A forest is a name for the ephemeral, beautiful life we are drawing, together with our voices, stories, and warmth. Recalling one of the greatest ballad singers, Lee Sora’s depth and vibrations, Darin’s voice has the strength to take us through this forest. All ten songs in [Forest], Darin’s first album, are poetry calling on the star with a lonely face, the blue milky way, and the cloud-shaped elephant.

The first time I heard “우리의 상아는 구름 모양 The Elephant” (below), I felt carried along an adventure through a mystical forest as the piano keys, vibrating cymbals and chimes, and Darin’s voice opens a gateway into a blinding new world. And maybe, in this world, elephants are shaped like clouds. I get shivers whenever I watch this live version.

Full album: Apple Music / Spotify

너의 둥근 입술 위로 미끄러질 때
아무 말 없이 모든 걸 가질 수 있어
함께 보았던 아침을 기억하니
우리의 상아는 구름 모양
사랑은 이름보다 멀리 그곳까지
나는 너의 진실이 되어야지
초라한 맘은 베개 아래 넣어둬야지

when it slips down your round lips
i can have everything without talking
do you remember the morning we saw together
our elephant is in the shape of a cloud
love is beyond the name
i want to become your truth
store the shabby heart under the pillow

A calling for one’s heart
Car, The Garden — [부재 Absence]

I have been a big fan of Car, The Garden since his Mayson, the Soul days. His cover for “Myeongdong Calling” is still my favourite. I’m constantly attracted to his voice, and as a composer and producer, he writes words that I never knew I wanted to say.

[Absence] is dedicated to people who need his music, while contemplating “what is absent that I’m always regretting and worrying?” The five songs follow a protagonist who craves for love from another — “그대 작은 나의 세상이 되어 darling, be my small world / 그려 본 적 없는 꿈을 꾸게 해 let me dream a dream i’ve never drawn” (“그대 작은 나의 세상이 되어 My Whole World“) — yet unable to hold oneself up — “아무렇지 않은 사람 난 못돼요 i can’t become a person that doesn’t care / 아프고 원망스러우니까 because it hurts and it’s resentful” (“아무렇지 않은 사람 Doesn’t Matter” below) — and eventually gives up — “오늘 밤에도 내일도 나는 나일 뿐일 테고 tonight and tomorrow, I’ll be myself / 결국 내 곁엔 아무도 없었어 eventually, there’s no one beside me” (“푸른색 유리병 Blue Glass Bottle“). Every song feels deep in self-reflection and a fight with oneself.

Full album: Apple Music

그대의 마음이
변하지 않을 거라는
나 바라왔던 그
품 속과 사랑의 평온
왜 내게 줬나요
아무렇지 않은 사람이 될게요
아무런 일도 없던 것처럼
감은 눈을 뜨면 너무 아픈 마음도

담대히 버텨낼 수 있기를

the belief
that your heart
would never change
and the love and peace
inside you that longed for me
why did you
give them to me
i’ll become a person that doesn’t care
as if nothing happened
even the painful heart when i open my eyes
i hope i can endure it

A storytelling smeared with a familiar scent
장필순 Jang Pil Soon [장필순 Reminds 조동진 / Jang Pil Soon Reminds Jo Dong Jin]

“About the way of holding a name inside your heart.” This album is Jang Pil Soon’s dedication to the godfather of Korean underground music, folk singer-songwriter Jo Dong Jin who passed away three years ago. Already 32 years since her debut album, Jang Pil Soon is also a significant figure in folk-rock and has been a close companion of him. Along with his brother Jo Dong Ik (keyboard, mixing, mastering), Jang Pil Soon “re-sings” ten songs of Jo Dong Jin with simplicity and care, as if she’s inviting you into her warm house on a cold winter night, offering you a cup of hot tea and sharing you stories against the freezing wind blowing outside. She sings each verse with loose calmness, low and intimately into your ears, slowly melting away all that’s been bundling inside you.

I barely know Jo Dong Jin’s songs and have only heard of Jang Pil Soon’s 1996 album [나의 외로움이 널 부를 때 When my loneliness calls you] a few times, so I’m unsure how this album made its way into recommendations on my Apple Music. But I’m happy it did. The moment I heard Jang Pil Soon’s voice carried along with the chimes in the first song, “물을 보며 Watching the water” (below), a scent familiar yet unknown entered and I was on pause, dwelling in the memories of the words. This entire album feels like folktale storytelling, and it’s certainly a beautiful, warm, and honest dedication to her friend.

Full album: Apple Music / Spotify

물을 보며 나는 잊었네
날 저무는 것까지도 잊었네
물을 보며 나는 잊었네
달 기우는 것까지도 잊었네
물을 보며 나는 잊었네
내가 사랑했던 것까지도 잊었네
물을 보며 나는 잊었네
내가 용서했던 것까지도 잊었네
긴 강을 거슬러 한없이 걸었네
물이 시작되는 그 깊은 계곡
꽃잎 날리는 그곳까지

I forgot while watching the water
I even forgot the day growing dark
I forgot while watching the water
I even forgot the waning moon
I forgot while watching the water
I even forgot what I love
I forgot while watching the water
I even forgot what I forgave
I walked endlessly up the long river
The deep valley where the water begins
To the place where the flower petals dance


너는 웃으며 내게 말했지
아주 작은 일에도 눈물이 나와
내가 마지막 너를 보았을 때
너는 아주 평화롭고
창 너머 먼 눈길
너는 웃으며 내게 말했지
아주 한밤중에도 깨어있고 싶어

You said to me while smiling
that tears keep falling even for small things
The last time I saw you
You looked very peaceful
The snowy path far through the window
You said to me while smiling
that you want to stay awake even during late nights