Azin has been off the radar for a couple of years, but her 2015 album Développé left an impression. Her last single release was in 2020, so I was surprised to see a new EP by her in my Spotify release alerts. It proved to be an even more pleasant surprise than I had anticipated, full of soothingly cosmic soundscapes and sentimental messaging for listeners.

azin shimmering

Over the years, despite her occasional absences, Azin has kept music in her mind and opted to create something special for her listeners, new and old. To preface, I believe Azin states her intentions best in her YouTube video description:

일상들이 모여 삶을 이루고, 빛나는 순간들은 의미를 만들어 갑니다. 파란 바다 수면 위로 유영하는 빛을 관망하듯, 편안하게 흘러가는 시간처럼 하루 어느 때, 언제라도 잠시 머물 수 있는 음악이 되기를 바랍니다.

Shining moments in everyday life, I hope this would be music that resides in your heart for a while. A song that is like gazing at a swimming light on a blue sea or a restfully flowing time.

The first track, “Croquis,” is as the title of the EP suggests — shimmery and a bit bubbly. As Chris noted in his review of her 2015 album, her work bears some similarities to Aseul. Her vocal technique, however, I find more akin to OOHYO.

These two artists were instrumental in my developing interest in Korean indie, so Azin is off to a strong start in my books. Overall, it’s fresh-sounding yet laidback. The sound reflects Azin’s message for this song, which can once again be found in her YouTube video description:

가끔은 단순해질 필요가 있어요. 이미 지나간 것들 혹은 끊임없이 붙잡는 무언가로부터. 이미 규정되었다고 여겨지는 것들에서 벗어나, 중요한 한 가지로부터 다시 스스로를 재구성하기를 ‘선택’할 수 있지 않을까요.

Sometimes you need to let yourself go from the things that are already gone or something that is constantly holding you back. Wouldn’t you be able to ‘choose’ to restructure yourself from the utmost important thing, while being away from what is already defined?

“Two Planets” is dreamy and spacey. For me, it’s reminiscent of tracks off of Suzanne’s debut EP, but more cosmic than aquatic in sound. There’s a touch of lo-if here, in part due to the prolonged instrumental at the tail end. The percussive elements stand out in particular to me, and the reverb implies an openness within the soundscape.

It serves as a nice bridge between “Croquis” and the final two tracks, which implement more acoustic elements. Her message here is as soothing as ever:

우리가 어느 곳에서 어떤 모습으로 존재하든 우리가 꿈꾸는 세계는 다르지 않을 거예요. 당신이 가진 꿈과 내가 가진 꿈, 그 궁극적인 모습은 같은 곳으로 귀결됩니다.

No matter how we look or wherever we are, the world we dream of is no different. The dream you had and the dream I had would have the same ultimate appearance.

As stated, “Moon” has slightly less synth and more piano; however, when the synth does come in, it has a bit of a vintage audio filter. It also features what I believe to be a violin, which ups the drama and tension; said tension is broken by the post-chorus piano riffs.

Each song on this EP gave me a slightly different vibe, and this one reminded me of Ashmute, but with a bit more of that spacey atmosphere implied by the track’s title. It has a lonely edge to it, but not one of hopelessness — something which is intentional, given what Azin has to say about this track:

쉼을 허락받는 시간이 아늑하지 않을 때도 있어요. 홀로 밤의 무게를 짊어져야 하는 순간도 존재합니다. 다행히 올려다볼 수 있는 달이 있어서, 그로부터 위안을 받고 그 시간에 머무를 수 있도록 다독임을 얻습니다.

Even the time allowed for rest may sometimes not be completely cozy. There are moments when you have to bear the weight of the night alone. Luckily, there is a moon you can look up where you get comfort from, and you can stay at that time.

Finally, “Still Remains” tips almost into ballad territory. It uses the piano heavily and allows Azin’s vocals to truly shine with its more simplistic instrumental. It’s gentle, a reminder of life’s constants. After all the space-like sounds, Still Remains is grounding, bringing us back down to Earth.

세상은 빠르게 변하고 시간은 끊임없이 흘러가지만, 어쩌면 기억의 속도는 조금 다른 것 같습니다. 추억과 그리움 그 사이 어느 중간쯤을 맴도는 마음을 담았습니다.

The world changes quickly and time goes by constantly, but perhaps the speed of the memory is a little different. It contains a feeling around at some point between memories and longing.

From beginning to end, Azin presents a polished and sentimental version of herself to listeners, offering comforting words within her smooth, soothing soundscapes. All the instrumentals are complexly interwoven, offering new little things to notice with every listen.

And, as she intended, these songs have all stayed with me since my first listen, bringing me back time and time again — especially on the rainy drives home after work recently. If you need some good music to drift away to for a little while, I can’t recommend Shimmering enough.

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aspiring museum professional, avid lover of music