Sunday, December 18, 2011

Kang Tae Hwan (강태환) download on WFMU & Kim Seok Chul (김석출) documentary

I found about both of these on the same day.  One is an out of print album by Korean jazz saxophonist Kang Tae Hwan and the other is a documentary on Korean traditional musician Kim Seok Chul.

The Kang Tae Hwan album is an occasionally hair-raising affair.  It's a collaboration with Tuva vocalist Sainkho Namtchylak.  Tuva?  Yeah, I didn't know either, so I had to look it up.  It's a "federal subject" of Russia, which just means that it's a part of Russia, but has autonomy as well.  Similar to Puerto Rico perhaps?  I don't know.  Learn something everyday.  Anyway, you can download the album from WFMU here.  I'm listening to it now.  As I said, it has some hair-raising moments, and it builds tension quite nicely.  Namtchylak is quite the vocalist, and may be strong factor on how someone might feel about the music.  Yoko Ono and Diamanda Galas come to my mind, but perhaps Galas is a better example.  It's been a while since I've listened to Galas, but she's got more range than Ono and would be the best comparison here.  Which means she can sound like she's singing to her lover one moment, and then brutally axe murdering him the next.  She also uses her voice as percussion as well.  Cathartic might be the best word for it.

Sainkho Namtchylak
There are also some melodic undertones, but the album has a good droney, atonality to it, and it never goes off into any free jazz cacophony as well.  I think that's a good thing.  I prefer the drone and the meditational aspect of this music, and that seems to be Kang's style judging from his excellent album on VHF in 2004 called Love Time and some of his other recordings.  Cacophony is great at times, but I don't listen to those kinds of free jazz records as often.  It's one of the more unusual Korean jazz records I've heard.  Definitely check it out.

Kim Seok Chul is a new name for me.  I was introduced to him a couple of months ago at After Hours, a jazz record store in Seoul, when the owner convinced me to buy one of his records.  Kim was considered a Shaman, and he played a hojeok (호적, similar to an oboe).  He died about 6 years ago but before he died Austrailian jazz drummer Simon Barker went to Korea to learn more about traditional Korean music and Kim which became this documentary.  I have not seen the documentary, but it's called Intangible Asset Number 82, and it was released in 2008.  If you're interested in Korean traditional music and jazz, this sounds like one to watch.  I'll probably write more about this dude later when I get some more of his stuff.  Here's the trailer:

Intangible Asset Number 82 from Daniel Kerr on Vimeo.

Kang Tae Hwan

Kim Seok Chul

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