Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Shin Joong Hyun & Yup Juns (신중현과 엽전들) 1974-1975 Part 1
It's been a while since I've posted. The reasons are as follows: laziness, trip to Malaysia/Singapore for 2 weeks, and sickness plus food poisoning yet again which for some reason is difficult as hell for me to get rid of in the winter time. Also, I was trying to find proper information about Shin Joong Hyun's backing band - the Yup Juns, which is the name of the old Korean coins with the holes in the middle - during the '74 and '75 period of his career. This has not been easy because I can't read Korean very well, but I've found some decent sites to find things, one is maniadb.com (in Korean) and a Korean Psych/Folk music site. The former is basically a huge discography website, kind of like Discogs but specifically for Korean artists (though I do see other non-Korean albums pop up, so it's more like Discogs for Koreans); and the latter is an English language site (though a bit broken) dedicated to Korean psychedelic/folk music of the 60s/70s/80s. Both have been helpful to me to put together some kind of discography for this short period of time. However, I really can only find 4 albums from this period over here in Korea, but lucky for you, all four are also available on iTunes.
Lately, I've been more obsessed with this period in guitarist Shin Joong Hyun's (sometimes spelled Shin Jung Hyun, and even Shin Junhyun on iTunes) career than his earlier (and some might say better) material with The Men, The Sound, and others. But I personally think the Yup Juns are his best band. They are tight, and they have a relaxed, but funky sound that reminds me of not just American funk like The Meters, but also German bands from that era like Can or Neu. The only thing that holds them back on these four albums is the production which tends to make it sound lightweight. Especially with the guitars which sound very tinny, and are missing a bit of that fuzz that Shin likes to use. I've heard they were also trying to commercialize their sound because of government pressure. In 1975, there was a crackdown on artists in Korea, and many were arrested including Shin. In that year, the president, Park Chung Hee, enacted stricter laws on artists and much more censorship. This caused a dip in creativity over here, but it didn't necessarily keep good music from being released. It just wasn't as experimental as the late 60s and early 70s were.
Opal or Mazzy Star's more psych/folk moments. One more thing about this record: There is another version of this album with the exact same songs (different order) and recorded in a different session featuring a different drummer (Kim Ho-sik [김호식] who was replaced by Kwan Yong-nam [관용남]). Eventually I will find that version.
My next post will be the second part focusing on the year 1975. If I'm able to track down some of the other albums released during this era, then I will do a part 3. As I mentioned above, these two albums above are available from iTunes, so I won't bother giving you a link for a free download from this site. Anything unreleased or out of print or hard to find anywhere outside of Korea that I find I will gladly post, though.
A friend thought it would be a good idea to post some of the songs I mentioned, and I agreed. Unfortunately, most of these were not available on youtube so I had to upload them myself. You're welcome. Here they are:
Kim Jung Mi's "Reed":
And her version of "Think":
Shin Joong Hyun & Yupjun's version of "Think":
And here they are with "Throb":
Next is "I Love You":
And finally, a song that was already on youtube, "Beautiful":