Hosu emailed Korean Indie about his first EP, Motif, in January. The four-song EP is centered on electronic music, favoring heavy melodies and long verses. Even at 15 minutes, Motif is able to showcase multiple styles and allows Hosu to show off multiple angles to his music.
“호리” starts simple. It’s Hosu’s vocals, guitar, and synth along with a sample in the background to slowly build out the instrumentals. It opens up at around 30 seconds and expands with more electronic samples to create a layered track. The different instrumentals are all communicating together to weave a simple-sounding, but a complex texture that supports Hosu’s vocals. The vocals are warm and don’t sound too strained. It’s a bit of a mix of indie pop and ballad style and Hosu isn’t forcing the vocals outside a centered octave.
There’s a switch on “Painted.” It has a wider audio landscape and mixes electronic with some smooth R&B themes. I like the percussion on the song with its off-beat hi-hat, low bass drum, and snare. The percussion serves as the guide on “Painted” with Hosu’s vocals acting as the adhesive. I wonder if Hosu prefers a more casual and lower melody because the vocals don’t ever really stress themselves. The vocal high point on “Painted” sounds like the top of Hosu’s range.
“Hello, Sunshine!” has a slight city pop tone. The song carries that 80s electronic pop sound like you’re driving on the highway. This is also the song where Hosu expands the vocals and goes for a higher register. It’s a little uneven though with success coming and going. I think if there was a guest vocal, it might give “Hello, Sunshine!” a different color.
Motif closes similarly to how it started. “Story” is a slow tempo and deliberately paced track. It has more layers than “호리” and sounds like this is the full presentation of Hosu as an artist. There are so many things happening in the instrumentals and Hosu’s vocals do get a little muddled. But it gives a good impression of where and how Hosu can grow as an artist.
This first EP by Hosu has a lot of ideas and all are successful to varying levels. I think there are two directions to explore and both could be equally successful. I like a lot of the ideas on Motif and I can hear what Hosu is presenting, though I think a bit more cohesiveness will help on the next release.
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