On his debut EP, singer-songwriter/guitarist, Ha Beom Seok, also known from his work in the Dear Jazz Orchestra, Barim, and in DUSKY80, reveals his solo capabilities with steady confidence. Synthesizing his past stylistic experiences into Not To Be Familiar, Ha pulls musically from R&B, folk, bossa nova, and ballad.

”Alcohol,” a melancholy R&B-inspired ballad, reminisces drunken evenings and the regrets felt each morning after. Ha’s intoxicating guitar riffs suggest that repeating the habit night after night is possible, if not even a bit addictive. Alcohol makes it just a little easier to dial up that someone’s number. 

In “Not To Be Familiar,” Ha straddles the unfamiliar and known, when a close one becomes a distant stranger. Atop a lilting acoustic guitar, Ha breathes warmth into desolate lyrics with enveloping harmonies and pulsating beats. 

Ha engages delicate arrangements on top of his bare-bones guitar approach, like as heard on “When I Close My Eyes.” Ha’s own voice is soft yet unwavering, echoed later by Park Ki Hun’s clarinet accompaniment. 

“Portray” shows Ha at his most tender with whispered sweet nothings and a gentle strumming in the classical idiom. Ha’s act is also augmented by understated yet swelling string flourishes, heard in particular in this track where he is joined by violinist Kang Echae

The 2017 single “Ask” (included on the CD release of “Not To Be Familiar”) is a glance at the past, reflecting his artistic journey to this point. Kang makes another appearance, along with Park Haena on cello.

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Based in Brooklyn, NY. Aspiring 냉면 connoisseur.