I would say that Korean electronic music is one of the hardest genres to really get into and discover. It’s not that there aren’t a lot of artists, but rather it’s difficult to find them. YOUNG, GIFTED & WACK is one of the best labels for electronic music. They’ve released some excellent albums from GRAYE, LOBOTOMY, 75A, and Saram12Saram.
If you’re looking for a way into Korean electronic music, YOUNG, GIFTED & WACK’s 3 Little Wacks compilation album celebrating the label’s three years is perfect.
If you don’t know any of these artists, YOUNG, GIFTED & WACK has introduced all of them on Bandcamp.
Kernelstrip is a one-man band. The name comes from “kernel”, or innermost part of something, and “strip”, representing the unveiling of the heart of the grain. His music may appear to be firm and unyielding, but it expresses hidden emotions from within. The combination of piano and heavy, sharp beats represents Kernelstrip’s signature sound. In 2014, Kernelstrip released two EPs, “Walking Through the Galaxy” and “Dazzling”, on Naver’s streaming service, OnStage.
You won’t be able to hear a more beautiful or mysterious voice like Saram12Saram anywhere else. The duo’s sound is exquisitely constructed and marked by unique melodies. The singer, Zieum, and sound engineer, Eunchurn, make up Saram12Saram. Zieum’s melodies may appear to be standard pop, but are in fact atypical. Eunchurn’s sound may not follow the standards of electro pop, but each piece is crafted like a designer good. Saram12Saram released their first EP “Raindrop, Cloud, Typhoon and the Sun” on CD and LP on 12/12/2013. In 2015, they were nominated for the Best Dance/Electronic Music Album of the Year at the South Korean Pop Music Awards
HerMean, of FIRST AID and Pause Cuts, in collaboration with Hong Hyo-Jin, produced Room306, their second vocal collaboration project. Centered by Hong Hyo-Jin’s delicate and emotive vocals, Room306 produces experimental pop music. This results in a sound outside the conventional genres of music that may share characteristics with Bossa Nova, future R&B, or traditional pop. Unlike traditional studio music, Room306 performs live shows like a B Studio Band, allowing for greater appreciation of their sound. They plan to release their single, “Tomorrow”, highly praised by Chet Faker, on SoundCloud soon.
Flash Flood Darlings soloist, Jay Song, created his band’s name during a trip in Thailand with his boyfriend. After becoming an emancipated teen, Song spent his youth in Christchurch, New Zealand with friends. Song’s album, [Vorab and Tesoro], is about his struggle to come to terms with his sexuality and the fleeting, yet beautiful time he spent with his friends. Song publicly announced his sexuality on Naver OnStage.
goldendoodle’s name comes from a mixed breed dog, part Golden Retriever and Poodle. Goldendoodle duo, WooMin and TaeSeong, started as “Elena” and released their album, “Say Hello to Every Summer” in 2006. In 2012, they moved to Japan, and released another album “tender tender trigger” under the label IRMA JAPAN. Their sound is sharp, delicate, timid, yet fascinating.
GRAYE is a sound designer performs in spaces ranging from galleries to musical theaters. He is considered an idol in the beat making scene. Fuckushi Oyo is a freaky folk singer-songwriter. Fuckushi Oyo and GRAYE first collaboration on Gumgang River from GRAYE’S album Mon eventually led to the creation of 75A. The duo’s namesake came from a combination of their favorite words. They make dark, beautiful, and subtle sounds.
Due to a hard disk failure, 75A’s first album was prematurely released free of charge in 2014. Since then, 75A has been working on the release of their new album.
FIRST AID came up with the name Pause Cuts after taking a break from ten years of playing music that ranged from jungle to future R&B. Pause Cuts utilizes traditional elements of Black music such as 808 Drums, funky bass, and Rhodes’ keyboards in order to make a futuristic sound beyond the range of Black and electronic music. Pause Cuts plans to release their official album featuring Jinbo and Sunwoo Jung-A soon.
LOBOTOMY or LBTM is Yang Jeong-Min’s one man band. Since mid 2000, Yang established his own style of music, and has been known to play Glitch, Noise, and Chillwave. In addition to his most well known hit, “Bulldozer” by Swings, his musical experiments and live shows are well received. LOBOTOMY made the chop and screwed sound version of “Shampoo’s Fairy”. He also DJs “Jersey Club” music at Cake Shop in Itaewon. LOBOTOMY’s first album, “protoLEMON” is a mix of chillwave, trap, witchhouse, and boogy funk. He is currently working on the release of his new album, “LEMON”.
Born in South Korea, and classically trained in the Netherlands, Sima Kim is a producer that got his start in ambient music. He has since moved into the beat making music scene from 2014. With his foundations in ambient music and international releases in Japan and the U.S.A, Sima Kim produces a sound highly praised by Pitchfork and Fact. He plans to share more of his music, ranging from ambient to trap, very soon.
Of all the YOUNG, GIFTED & WACK musicians, theoria has the most indie sound. He has been making sounds, influenced by jungle and ambient music, since the mid 2000s. His musical style can be enjoyed in any setting. His album Innerspace, released in 2013, takes a look at the inner world of humans. After the album release, theoria has been working on remixes. One of his remixes, “Live Fast Die Young” by M.I.A., received more than 40,000 hits on SoundCloud. theoria’s remix of Lil Wayne’s “A Milli” has become the unofficial anthem at club Cakeshop in Itaewon.