(New Album Review) KEDA- Hwal

KEDA is the fruit of a musically trans-cultural collaboration between two artists based in France: E’Jong-Ju, master of the ancient and notoriously difficult geomungo stringed instrument, and Mathias Delplanque, electronic music composer and sound artist. Their maiden album from February, Hwal, off Brussels’s intriguing Parenthèses Records, surely stands as one of the more substantial and genuinely exploratory experimental albums of the year.

This specific “East meets West” undertaking is one that will not be entirely unfamiliar to English-speaking fans of experimental sounds, considering geomungo master Kim Jin-Hi’s extensive collaborations with free-improvisation legends like Henry Kaiser and Derek Bailey (along with others with masters from India, Japan, and China). However, the exchange at the heart of Hwal (Korean for “bow”), is certainly a far cry from the rickety guitar lines that shared space with the geomungo on 1991’s Sargeng; this one captivates with a dubby, shadowy ambience that I think I prefer. Crashing bursts of noise unevenly weave in and out of the soundscapes (check: the title track), but for the most part Delplanque (who spent a year mixing the live performances seen here) gives Jong-Ju space, subtly transforming her performances with percussive electronic elements and weighty effects. Among these sinuous and reverberant mixes, a universal folk music can be found…

It’s a mystic dark ambient trip not realy like anything else; don’t waste any time and take the plunge!

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