There aren’t a lot of options to listen to Korean music on vinyl. It can be really expensive for Korean bands to manufacture releases. When Jambinai signed to Bella Union and looking at the options to purchase the album, vinyl came up. Listening to A Hermitage on vinyl is like hearing another form of the band. Even though listening to the album digitally is fine, there is a bigger depth in the audio. A Hermitage is a step forward from Différance, the album doesn’t feel like it’s in a hurry allowing each song to maintain a steady pace.
The signature mix of Korean traditional instruments and post-rock is still present, but it sounds even more confident. Even with “They Keep Silence” as the single, I like how there’s not one song that sits outside the pack as a prominent single. Every song makes the landscape of A Hermitage. Even “Abyss” featuring Ignito plays a role to show how Jambinai are able to apply their style in various ways. “For Everything That You Lost” is my favorite track because it shows the strength of every instrument. While it never has a big chorus or bridge, it makes the fullest use of the members talents in performing.
I did feel that Différance came across a little rushed. Songs worked towards crescendos and big statements quickly. A Hermitage allows the band to slowly build on each verse and lets the band decide when it wants to crest. I also like how the traditional instruments have a bigger presence. It was possible that they got washed out in the breakdowns on Différance, but on A Hermitage it’s much easier to hear individual tracks. With the band touring Europe often, take the opportunity to watch them live.
Jambinai are a great example of the diversity of music in South Korea. Their mix of traditional and contemporary styles resulted in a band that no music fan can ignore. Even if the style isn’t your preference, there’s no way you can deny that their music isn’t powerful and compelling. A Hermitage presents a band that took the time to compose and record. It doesn’t feel rushed and pulls the quiet intensity from their original EP and the power from Différance.