In the Korean independent music industry, there are a few artists who always deliver interesting and compelling albums. But these artists are sometimes overshadowed by currently favored music styles. Lang Lee has been releasing music since 2012 and each album builds on her core folk style while also exploring other elements.
One of her biggest strengths is her focus on music she wants to create rather than adjust to fit the wants of the general public. There is A Wolf is her third full length and the most comprehensive and deep look into her ability as a musician.
Lang Lee’s audio world lives inside folk, but she’s not scared of going outside of those boundaries to create hybrid tracks. Her vocals are recognizable and center every song regardless of the instrumentals. “There is a Wolf” gives the most signature and recognizable Lang Lee style that bridges older releases. Her vocals have a calm and tense tone that adds some urgency even though the tempo is relatively paced.
She also plays with more minimal arrangements like on “Conversation.” It’s an acapella track that only uses vocals yet still comes across as a “Lang Lee” song. There’s nothing missing even though there aren’t instruments helping push the melody. My personal favorite track is “The Generation of Tribulation.” The song is the most “standard” folk track with acoustic guitar and Lang Lee’s vocals working as the main focus with strings, bass, and percussion molding the song together.
One of Lang Lee’s strengths is that every track has a definite arc and composition. Rather than a mid-album or shorter track to break the flow, There is A Wolf is deliberate in every verse and lyric. This also allows songs to tell their full story regardless of the track length. This doesn’t mean that Lang Lee is bridging on post-rock lengths, most songs are in the four to five minute length, but you never feel rushed as the listener.
There is A Wolf is a continuation of Lang Lee’s unique and specific artist vision and that’s what I enjoy so much about her music. Each album has a specific place in her discography and she continues to build and explore composing complex tracks that sound simple. This album is a welcome addition and everyone should listen to the album as a starting point into this other aspect of Korean independent music.