It’s been three years since Dajung reemerged with Jay Knife after closing her early years as j.knife. Jay Knife collected the songs during that era and it was a strong chapter in her music journey. She’s participated in various work over the years but I was always curious if she would release music under her name again. And suddenly Unlearn released.

dajung unlearn album cover

The four song EP is a clear presentation of growth. Dajung has absorbed so much more in technique, style, tone, and composition. But she hasn’t thrown away the foundation of her music. Now there are a lot more deliberate steps forward and less hesitation.

I wonder if Unlearn is meant to say that Dajung has reset everything she thought music was supposed to be over these last three years. She’s collaborated with a lot of different musicians and I’m sure that’s given her a wider perspective from her original solo days. “One Song” sounds like an indie track you’d hear on a U.S. indie pop playlist. It has an international flair that includes a lot of influence and inspiration.

It also shows the shift in composition, arrangement, and production. Dajung’s full voice and perspective are presented in a polished but familiar tone. “Anxiety of Influence” sounds like it could have come from Jay Knife but also has that Julien Baker tone that weaves throughout that album.

And with “There,” Dajung is shedding expectations. Her lyrical content is consistent across all the different styles and I think Unlearn is also here to make a hard mark that Unlearn is artist development.

It’s likely that Dajung will never return to her solo production work that created Jay Knife and the releases before. She’s moving forward and I believe that Dajung will be a hugely influential voice in the history of Korean independent music. Unlearn is impressive in the weight it presents.

Dajung’s (hopefully) next full length may change the international perspective on independent Korean music.

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Korean Indie owner and Editor at Large. Constantly looking for new music and working on library parity on Spotify and YouTube Music.