Through to that type of article, we want to offer you a review of the Korean urban scene news.
However we need to make some clarifications.
Firstly, even if we are doing our best to give you the largest range possible, we’ll certainly miss some releases but it doesn’t mean that the project isn’t worthy of interest.
Then, if we are always trying to give you a review as much objective as possible, the fact is that there is always going to have some subjectivity in it. We haven’t the “received wisdom”, our aim here is only to promote the weekly releases and in some angles to express our views. After all beauty is in the eye of the beholder and, if you don’t share the same opinion than us don’t hesitate to tell us in our comment space, on twitter or facebook!
We also liked to say that to stay up-to-date on the current releases, we are leaning, among other, on K-Hip Hop France and HiphopKR pages!
Bang Yongguk - "Hikikomori"
First solo project since Bang Yongguk has left TS Entertainment and well, what can we say…
It’s probably one of the most intense track of this early-year. The emotional charge is so important, that, more than a song; this project is more in the range of an artistic performance given that music is art, and that there is obviously a real musicality in Hikikomori, this production is standing out from the standard expectation people can have from music. It’s above all raw feelings that Bang Yongguk is showing us. The instrumental, all in delicacy and sobriety with its jazz sonority, is more a material on which he is pouring out than a simple accompaniment.
The main emotion we can feel, at least for us, is before everything else an angst, a distress not to find any respite. To cut himself off from every social interaction in order to prevent pain, because social interactions are calling for a lot of self-commitment, but yet not finding any salvation in loneliness either. Bang Yongguk seems to depict a loneliness which is a fortress as much as a prison.
Then, staging blindfolded, Bang Yongguk is seemingly wanting to express his duality. Pulling the wool over the public’s eyes and finding an ephemeral comfort by being on stage but going back to the harsh reality as soon as the performance is finished. Subsequently, indeed, we can see the artist in a dilapidated room which can be seen as a reverberation of his current state, every breach representing a wound. Then, here it would be a “first person” view meanwhile on the last part of the song it seems to be more of a “third person” one. Bang Yongguk is externalising his pain, a pain at odds with this very tidy frame he is struggling to bear.
However, if this track is, indeed, full of strong emotions, we still can feel that he is kind of holding back, as if he didn’t wanted or couldn’t truly found his catharsis.
PALL KID - "TOO MUCH TALKER" ft WO66LE
A dark atmosphere track, marked by a very simple and, at the same time, original prod with what seems to be a phone sample.
What is especially interesting in that track is its atmosphere. The structure is all in progression : we are waiting for a drop which never come and yet it’s surprisingly not frustrating.
Quite the contrary, what is captivating actually, is that the song is keeping you in suspense, a really interesting and unique production!
Cherry Coke - "목욕해"
Cherry Coke stands out once again in her usual calm and refined register. A all in finesse track!
펀치넬로 (punchnello) - "Absinthe" (Prod. by 0channel, 2xxx!)
One of the big releases of the week and a clearly very very good surprise! Punchnello reached a milestone, and dedicated himself once again to a dark atmosphere he already had explored with Detox but this time one level higher. The instrumental draws from a little bit “dirty”/industrial techno (Ed: a little bit in the vein of the producer gesaffelstein for instance), for a gradually oppressive atmosphere on which Punchnello seems to almost reach a state of trance.
Amburu’s note: I found the colouring effects especially interesting : red for Punchnello (or a warm colour), and blue for the others protagonists or cold colours. Those contrasts really impressed me and I really liked it!
Eli’s note: When I saw that 0Channel and 2xxx! collaborated on the prod I already had high expectations and let’s just say that I have been all the more speechless when I have finally heard it. I have been really and pleasantly surprised to see them on that range! Well, the CLUBESKIMO members are once again showing us the extent of their creativity.
ONYOURSIDE - 1ST MIXTAPE : “rose the gold”
A project between Trap and RnB globally marked by a sort of melancholy with some mind-blowing tones. A project which is particularly suiting for night listening sessions.
DUCK BAE - Album (7 pistes) : "24/7"
A seven tracks project globally tinted by the same Trap/RnB vibe with maybe more variations. Indeed, we can hear some future beats influences in the HIGHNOON track for instance, a little bit of autotune and reverberation while DUCK BAE is playing a lot on tempo variations.
We are unanimously recommending you HIGHNOON, DOOBAI and 황금기야.
Eli’s note: It’s not a secret that I love mind-blowing beats so I inevitably liked TURBAN too.
GILLA - "without saying anything" (Feat. 구현 KU HYUN)
You might have already heard GILLA’s work on slchld, FR:EDEN or oceanfromtheblue’s tracks and, on the whole, we can say that the producer is especially distinguishing himself on Lo-Fi beats and that he is doing it with talent.
KU HYUN’s tone is reinforcing this mellow atmosphere and the birds’ recordings are nicely punctuating the whole track ~
#ɴᴏᴏʜ.ᴛ (누티) - "PLAY ON"
An interesting project which distinguishes itself thanks to a general ethereal atmosphere. #ɴᴏᴏʜ.ᴛ explores different vibes while keeping a real consistency even if he goes from alternative rock (Everyday or What do you see which is almost an emo rap track because of its saturation entailed by autotune) to cloud rap (Nobody’s Compare), with sometimes some vaporwave tonalities (Laputa with its synth variations) or more RnB vibes (Say Something and Fall In Love) to end with Dark Trap on PLAY ON CYPHER.
In short, really enjoyable to listen to!!
£.vıewƶ(이뷰즈) - "NIGHTMARE" (prod.강유정)
A track all in paradox and complexity. The title couldn’t be more appropriated since everything in this production is related to the dream world, from the music box sample to this atmosphere £.vıewƶ manages to develop thanks to the sensuality his voice exudes. His breathy flow contributes to this atmosphere.
And it’s actually here that paradox lies in. If £.vıewƶ is in all likelihood referring to the nightmare theme, it’s above all softness which emanates from this project!
A track we highly recommend ~
Sundaycandy - "Sadness" (Feat. K.vsh)
This project seems to be marked by the same incongruity. Unlike its title, it’s a groovy vibe which prevails thanks to the guitar/bass chord. The structure for instance is really interesting because the of the time marking. The times are not where we would expect them to be.
Special mention to K.vsh who shows us once again all the extent of his musicality.
박정인 - "I Don't Know"
Mind-blowing RnB tinted with autotune, all in mellowsity (yes we just invented that word).
Lil Sunder11 - Lonely ft cold sky
Some alternative rock, almost on a trap vibe which will please the lovers of the genre. We can also underline that the production is really well-balanced but also that we don’t fall in monotony or that the autotune isn’t too invasive. In this kind of production the autotune can indeed annoy some people sometimes.
Then yes, the project is very clean/good!
Los - "Hustle" (ft. Dok2)
A very good project with a West Coast/Old School vibe. Los and Dok2 don’t have to prove anything anymore, the beat is maybe a little bit too much invasive/repetitive, but well, apart from that, it’s really smooth, there is nothing wrong here!
GAMEBOY88 - "Bustdown" (Prod. GAMEBOY88)
Here GAMEBOY88 stands out in his favourite genre : a dark trap with futuristics tones.
A track which will probably end in the genre lovers’ playlists !
Superbee - "Heu!"
Honestly we don’t have much to say on that track, it’s a classical Superbee with as usual an emphasis put on the technique, he’s good in his genre!
At the risk of dividing opinions, we found that the prod was, maybe, bad-balanced or too much invasive though.
nathania - EP : "timespentwithyou" (2 Titres)
Those two tracks could be described as Classical Alternative RnB.
Youremytime is characterised by a jazzy beat and, yes we can say that £.viewz and nathania are a winning duet.
The basses are more deep in needyouherebesideme and, the whole will enliven your mood/ambient playlists very well.
돛단배 - "색칠놀이[Theraphy Note]"
A consistent project bearing a jazzy and refined vibe with even Lo-Fi shades in some tracks. It’s very chill and nice to listen to it in one go.
Eli’s note: I prefered the first part of the project but the break in the fourth track (티는 안내도) was quite nice too!
RED KEEF - "UNDO (Remastered)"
Probably onne of the bests tracks this week, RED KEFF would deserve more visibility for us!
The production reminds us Behind Closed Doors in the Upgrade III album by Swings featuring Tommy Strate and we wouldn’t be surprised to learn that RED KEEF had sampled it. In any case, the light patina is quite nice and RED KEEF’s flow is really pleasant.
£.vıewƶ(이뷰즈) - "쉬어가도돼" (prod.TAEB)
£.vıewƶ offered us a second track this week and this time it’s a lot more mind-blowing and aerial with a hint of nonchalance and a sensuality which is gradually rising in intensity. This sensual vibe is even more accentuated when he starts to sing some words in Spanish.
A very talented artist when it comes to create an atmosphere ~
Colde - "Loss"
After an album more on groovy sonorities, here Colde chose to go back on a more nostalgic and tinted with softness sonority.
He stays true to the visual music as the whole track is enliven by footsteps, wind rustling, jingling and so on.
The violin and the general musical atmosphere let us think that the track would fit perfectly as an original soundtrack and also reminds us atmospheres like those you can hear in Miyazaki’s movies.
박정인 - "Drivin'"
Some Cloud rap with a quite fast tempo and a saturation effect which kind of adds a grain to the whole. A quite interesting track even if that effect might annoy some people.
GAMEBOY88 - "GREENBELT" (Prod. GAMEBOY88)
A one of a kind track, quite hard to describe it but it’s kind of a quite industrial trap.
What is especially interesting with GAMEBOY88 it’s that he is himself a producer and it’s pretty obvious in his productions. Especially in that project, there is a real harmony between his rap and the instrumental. You definitely should keep an eye on him!
Giriboy - EP "KGVOVC from wybh vol.1" (6 pistes)
What can we say ? This EP is, as always, good and Giriboy clearly doesn’t have anything to prove anymore, neither regarding his rap nor his productions. However, we find that he might have stayed too much in his comfort zone with this project which is definitely in tune with what he could have previously released.
Special mention to The Wall, Its Heavy and Stone which clearly stand out.
Donutman - EP : "Changes Clothes" (5 titres)
One of the project we weren’t expecting and well, let’s just say that it stupefied us! The whole is globally refined and explores very pleasant atmospheres.
Let’s say that we especially laugh at Casa’s lyrics and its Sicilian vibe in which we prefer not to dwell on… This track was, by the way, the opportunity to confirm our increasing enthusiasm for Ja Mezz’s rap who doesn’t cease to surprise us.
Myundo, featured in LV, also astonished us because it’s really uncommon to hear him on such a soft range. The track in itself is pleasant, lightened by the guitar’s chords punctuation. This track pretty remind us of what pH-1 can do.
Eli’s note: I also liked POISON with Leellamarz and The Quiett a lot, the softness and the mind-blowing side of the track. A project I will probably listen to a lot!
CHOILB - Album : "Orientation" (10 titres)
A quite consistent project relatively focused on narrative rap with a coherent research work especially on 개미 featuring Jclef with kind of vaporwave sounds. 불 with BewhY also stood out thanks to its jazz sonority meanwhile 26 would be almost a mix/hybrid between Boom Bap and Funk.
It’s worth noting that 드림카 featuring OLNL is probably sampled on FAN by oceanfromtheblue.
shinyujinssi - single album : ""
As one talk about artists who have potential, shinyujinssi is obviously one of the list so much she has a remarkable flow and is just as much exuding self-confidence as an impressive charisma.
Monochrome was already one of the best track of 2018 and the artist only confirms her musical universe’s richness and her skilfulness on Hae’s House prod.
We hope she’ll get more acknowledgement this year.
K.vsh - "Freestyle (rough)"
A very gentle track, it’s always pleasant to listen to K.vsh!
nuffAce - Mixtape : "SnackPack" (7 titres)
A project for trap lovers, it’s very clean and we have to give nuffAce our regards to the samples’ originality. We particularly liked GoGetter with its Trap prod both raw/crude and light, it’s quite disturbing!
Amburu’s note: I really liked WaffleBag and its cadenced atmosphere but also the bass you can hear throughout the song. A real pleasure for ears!
Eli’s note: I don’t really know why but CheezeCake reminds me the type of soundtrack you can hear in a level of a Mario game in Bowser’s castle, anyway it’s pretty cool. I also quietly liked FiveStars, the track has a kind of industrial side and the percussions remind me those of the Stomp collective.