I was beginning to think I would not hear anything from Glen Check again. This EP is the first new music from the band in four years, as June One Kim and Hyuk Jun Kang have been more active as DJs in the underground club scene. The Glen Check Experience reflects this phase, with R&B style compositions driven by darker techno and trap undertones. Glen Check continues to paint different pictures of youth with their albums.
“Dreaming Kills” is a preview of what to expect from the following songs in the album: syncopated drum beats, industrial soundscapes, trap breakdowns, and distorted vocals. The guitar and R&B vocal melody in this track add a touch of romanticism to the otherwise colder track.
The industrial soundscape continues in “Follow The White Rabbit,” where various non-percussive samples initially drive the rhythm. Analog synth arpeggios resting on top of this add to the techno feel of the track. Pitch modulation and other effects are used extensively on vocals, helping the soulful melody gel with the rest of the track. A simple piano melody is the last organic element that holds everything together.
The centerpiece of the album is “Long Strange Days, Pt. 1,” a complex and psychedelic blues track. It begins with a guitar riff sounding like shoegaze, while reverberating vocals and panned sample rhythms add to the dreamy mood. Most of the track is driven by a trap beat, bass guitar, and ambient sound effects, interweaving with the vocals to pace itself. The multiple transitions and breaks evoke vibes similar to some of June One Kim’s previous projects with XXX or Krystal, and conclude with a more acoustic blues set up sprinkled with chirping birds.
Vocal samples and modulations are the main source of variation in “Mayhem,” which has a simpler composition that combines trap with R&B. The final track “Rude & Confused” is more interesting in its combination elements from vastly different genres, as Glen Check finds a way to make old school hip hop beats work with cosmic synths and R&B vocals. The techno breakdown in the middle of the track ends much more abruptly than it begins, adding the final touch to a review of what the previous tracks have shown.
Glen Check’s previous albums have showcased a danceable, upbeat picture of youth, making them a festival favorite. While the emphasis on the soundscape over vocals is still present, The Glen Check Experience digs deeper into the cutting edge of Korean hipster culture, moving closer to the underground than ever. June One Kim’s beats and covers on his SoundCloud have provided a blueprint of what this album might sound like, and point to many more possible directions for his band to take.