Folk duo Kim Sawol x Kim Hae Won enchanted many with their debut mini album from 2014, Secret. And rightfully so; their intimate, dreamy music is extremely welcoming. One half of the duo, Kim Sawol, has just released her first album Suzanne and offers many of the same colors as Secret, but with touches of something more.
On some levels, Suzanne is homogeneous; all of the songs feature gentle guitar strumming, Kim Sawol’s wispy voice, and a bittersweet mood. However, Kim Sawol incorporates different instruments such as strings, flute, electronics, saxophone, piano, and more. These instruments add subtle drops of color to the album. Kim Sawol writes them in well; they fulfill their role gracefully without being overbearing. I think these different colors save the album from becoming too homogeneous.
One way I think Kim Sawol could advance her material even further is to incorporate songs with different moods than the melancholy, yet even-tempered one that she’s mastered so thoroughly. I think she has it in her to unleash a few songs here and there that are moodier, bolder, darker, brighter – whatever it may be. Having these type of songs on the album would help break things up and make the narrative of her albums more diverse and engaging.
The one constant in the songs on Suzanne is that once you’ve started listening, Kim Sawol draws you in completely with her savory, tranquil sound world. She has an admirably careful command over texture. These things make Suzanne a great album for snuggling up with headphones and getting lost for a little while.