I didn’t realize it’s been three years since ONDA. Now at the end of 2022, Jambinai has apparition. This four-song EP sounds like a transition between the music Jambinai explored on ONDA and diving deeper into a full band sound. Thankfully, they don’t strip away what made them so enjoyable in the first place, though it does sound like a careful balance of instruments is becoming slightly more complicated.
“once more from that frozen bottom” sounds like it comes from the Differance days. With a focus on now signature traditional Korean instruments, this track brings some nostalgia from when I first heard the band, how different they sounded, and how they used traditional instruments in new ways. The haegeum, piri, and geomungo are essential pieces of Jambinai’s sound and they prove it again here. Also, adding multilayered vocals adds to the atmospheric pressure of the sound.
Then there’s a bit of a turn on “from the place been erased.” This song adds the master class performance of sunwoojunga. She has one of the most recognizable vocals in Korean music and can manipulate her voice in crazy ways. “from the place been erased” isn’t a song with a sunwoojunga feature, it’s a track that collides the two together into something different.
While “from the place been erased” includes the haegeum and geomungo, it moves further into a harder rock song that isn’t common for Jambinai. It’s an amazing hint at where the band could go, but I’m a little worried that the base signature could be lost by dampening the traditional instruments with guitar, bass, and drums.
Jambinai moves back with “until my wings turn to ashes.” The track has that recognized Jambinai arrangement. A slow burn and careful movement across each verse as instruments are purposefully added. This all leads to an explosion at the end of the song. When I listen to Jambinai through single songs, this is where I come to. It showcases how tightly knit the members are and the organic composition of every track.
Closing apparition, “candlelight in colossal darkness” is like a coda. It has a similar arrangement to “until my wings turn to ashes,” but the song has an audio theme that feels like you’re opening a door to a new chapter or seeing something beautiful bloom right before your eyes. The song’s seven minutes and 39 seconds allow each beat to really make an impact. And that bridge to song close might be one of the best of any 2022 song.
Jambinai hasn’t stopped evolving and it sounds like they might even make a bigger change post-apparition. This EP sounds like it draws a line from Jambinai’s ONDA and is opening the soundscape for the band to try and adopt new influences going forward.