Singer Hong Hyo Jin and electronic musician First Aid have just released their first album, So Obvious Stories, under the name Room 306. Although I had not formerly heard of Hong Hyo Jin, First Aid has proved himself to be remarkable with electronics and he certainly doesn’t fall short here. The album is introspective and dreamlike, with an immersive atmosphere that fades out the world around you.
Despite being thickly layered, So Obvious Stories maintains a quality of weightlessness. It’s busy without exerting pressure on the listener; amidst pulsing bass drones and percussive nuances, there is always a clear, captivating line for the listener to wrap themselves in. Hong Hyo Jin leads each song with her melodies, which often begin in fragments before expanding and congealing. Overtop the bass are airy textures that allow the soundscape to breathe, such as guitar, piano, and percussive sounds in high registers.
First Aid and Hong Hyo Jin don’t shy away from being musically complex despite So Obvious Stories being a rather accessible, universally pretty album. First Aid maintains his electronic virtuosity and infuses the composition with plenty of intricacies. And even though they sound simple and elegant, Hong Hyo Jin’s melodies are at times rhythmically unconventional, with rhythms that don’t fall exactly on the beat. Room 306 are purely themselves and don’t water down their abilities in order to sound pretty. The result is an honest, solid album – one that is beautiful without pushing itself too hard.