Sunday, January 15, 2012

Seoul Sonic

I like K-pop. I honestly do. But sometimes I feel a little sad because it seems to me that it is all Korean music is known for. I like the colorful personalities and videos and the dance beats but I always get the feeling that when I listen to it, I should be ten years younger to get the most out of it. Also, lets face it, Kpop is by and large disposable music (oh snap!). Yes, similar to the pop we have had in North America, the Kpop scene consists of several companies who specialize in scouting, creating, writing music for and choreographing dance steps for the perfect pretty-boy or sexy-girl groups at the speed of an assembly line. New groups are constantly moving in and out of the spotlight while being meticulously documented by fans, with few having the staying power of such groups as Big Bang or 2ne1. It's all about supply and demand. However, I don't really have a huge problem with this in itself. The music industry is a business after all and some great groups and songs that will go down in pop history have come from this process (such as pop giants, Big Bang or 2ne1).

Kpop Mosaic!
 But here in North America this is nearly all we see of Korean music and because of that, we are led to believe that this is all Korean music is. Heavily commercialized videos featuring pretty androgynous boys and cute girls trying really hard to be sexy singing about things like "love" and members of the opposite sex and dancing suggestively or cutely to their heavily auto-tuned tracks. As I said, I don't mind this too much, for the most part, it works, but if there is one thing you can't deny, its that Kpop is manufactured. But what about the romantic story of a hungry artist with a vision, working their way up from performing in their high-school's battle of the bands, then in pubs and clubs, then concert halls, then getting picked up by a major label (or creating their own!) and going platinum! Does this reality exist in Korean music? What about the ART?! Music is Art after all right?

Album cover for EE [Total Art]'s album "Imperfect I'mperfect"
In my experience Korean culture is often compared to Japanese culture the latter often being totted as being the more unique of the two. This argument is often backed up by references to avaunt-guard movies or bands that are somewhat well-known here in North America. For many years I've been trying to refute this argument with counter evidence, because when you say a culture is unique, the next question has to be "relative to what?". For that reason, as well as the fact that I just LOVE "new sounds", I lost my shit when I discovered, just today, the website, Seoul Sonic. I was looking up a singer called Mad Soul Child, who was featured on a dynamic duo album (my favorite Korean hip hop group) who had an awesome voice and sound. Well suffice it to say I stumbled on some pretty awesome stuff here.

Mad Soul Child
 Soul Sonic is a promotional website for Korean singers and groups that exist beyond the fringes of Kpop. Indeed this is some fresh stuff. Here are some videos I handpicked from the website of songs that I thought were awesome! In ascending order, Mad Soul Child - VIP girl, EE [Total Art] - High Collar and MADmoisellle - Superconduction Nightclub. Check em out!

 All these videos came from Seoul Sonic's YouTube channel and these videos and more are all available at 

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