Lee Jang Hyuk’s music has a classic, timeless warmth that can be appreciated by anyone of any age. It’s thoughtfully, sincerely composed. All of his albums maintain the same high level of quality and enjoyability, and his recent album, Lee Jang Hyuk Vol. 3, is no exception.

lee jang hyuk vol 3

This album is a great example of intelligent music. Not because it’s extremely complex or innovative, but because it simply knows how to do things right. Lee Jang Hyuk brings his musical ideas to life with utmost eloquence and without trying too hard. His innate musicality allows each song to blossom in an organic manner.

One specific strength of this album is its long, mature melodic lines. There isn’t a single poorly thought-out or choppy line on this album. Each one is preciously shaped and woven masterfully into the music. I love how Lee Jang Hyuk takes his time with melodic development; it’s usually not until two minutes into each song that he states the first chorus, which is an indicator of the sustenance and longevity of his lines.

I have trouble picking a favorite track on this album, because each one is a gem. Some songs are more restless (“칼집,” “이만큼,” “불면”), while others are more dreamlike (“비밀,” “레테,” “나무”). I’d say “비밀” and “레테” are my favorites because of their poignancy.

This album is one of the most satisfying listens of the year. It’s classic, familiar, and palatable without being cliche. It sets itself apart from its indie-rock peers with its high degree of musical maturity. Lee Jang Hyuk Vol. 3 exemplifies why listening to music is so gratifying; it fuses with your mind, enriches your emotions, and leaves a pleasant aftertaste even after it has gone.

이장혁 Vol.3 (Lee jang Hyuk Vol.3) by 이장혁 (Lee Jang Hyuk)

Lee Jang Hyuk on Ruby Records.
Lee Jang Hyuk on Bandcamp.

A composer of music myself who has been inspired by Korean indie music for many years, specifically rock, electronic, and experimental music.