Young, Gifted&Wack was one of the most prolific electronic labels in South Korea. Now, it seems that artists and the label have scaled back a bit, but continue to release albums. This is a good thing because the variety of acts from the label is what defined it.

ffrd contemporary

FFRD, or Forty Five Records, consists of members, Dongchan and Dubinvain. Dongchan, formerly Kernelstrip, seemed to take a break from music for a bit and I don’t know anything about Dubinvain. Thankfully, this collaboration work presents a cohesive and addictive sound. The core of electronic mixed with chillwave is perfect for almost any occasion.

Contemporary brings you in slowly with “Romance.” The low key intro opens up into a good tempo melody. Percussion plays a key role in moving the song through its 4:33. What’s great about “Romance” is the composition is very easy to listen to, even though it contains multiple layers of samples, synth, and melodies. The repeat verses with added elements make the song one of the best openers.

“Little Horn” is my favorite track because it’s so percussion-forward. Besides the drum and click tracks, there are other percussion sounds that sit on top of the melody, not to hide it, but to draw your attention to different aspects of the song. “Aver” is a downtempo track, breaking up the pace of the six songs. It’s the most groove-forward song and verses repeat to keep your head inside the track.

“Tight” reminds me more of Dongchan’s style. It’s not a solid copy and sounds like the next chapter after “Little Horn.” The track uses a lot of snare samples, which might have been manipulated for tone and pitch. “Tight” isn’t focusing on a hard bass drum line, preferring to use a bass line after the first verse. “Tight” is a song that you can hear being constructed over the course of its five-plus minutes.

“Frame” is the most experimental song. There are a lot of tones playing in tandem and the track almost sounds like it’s a jumble of tones. The careful placement of each note and effect is impressive. I don’t think anyone should start Contemporary from the end, but listen to the EP from start to finish.

FFRD might be a collaboration, but it’s also showing that electronic music is still being composed. The electronic scene has some big players, but all the artists that I liked the best came from Young, Gifted&Wack. I’m glad the label is still able to release music and FFRD’s unique perspective could lead to more great releases.

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Korean Indie owner and Editor at Large. Constantly looking for new music and working on library parity on Spotify and YouTube Music.