Boomkat Product Review:
Spellbinding double disc set of new, original compositions for ancient, classical Korean instruments Geomungo and Gayageum. We were only recently introduced to the wrenched, bluesy dynamics and acutely angular style of Korean classical via Sublime Frequencies' incredible and hugely recommended 'Scattered Melodies' compilation, so this is only the 2nd collection we've heard. It's a more modern, perhaps less mannered take on the sound, maybe best compared with Jozef Van Wissem's appropriation of the classical lute, and every bit as endearing, exotic and expressive. "The Geomungo, the zither of the kingdom of Goguryeo is one of the oldest korean instruments. It is sometime called the 'black zither.' It can be traced back to the 4th century, when it was used exclusively in the sacred setting of court music. According to legend and to recent archeological digs, the Gayageum is a millennial zither-like instrument featured in all korean traditional repertoires. The Gayageum was probably inspired by its chinese close relatives (the Guzheng, Seul and Chuk). Its name derives from the ancient kingdom of Gaya. It is said that 1,300 years ago, King Gasil ordered musician wu ruk to build this beautiful instrument out of paulownia wood. Baudouin de Jaer is exploring these ancestral vibrations. and, like a researcher who cannot stop digging ever deeper, he unveils, with sincere spontaneity, the fundamentals of korea's traditional cultures. His music includes the natural evocations Koreans hold so dear: rivers bouncing off of rocks, stones giving away under one's steps and dancing down the hill, skies slowly growing darker, in the silent moments preceding the crashes of a thunderstorm and its heavy summer showers... the relationship with nature, the earth, the sky, the shamanic dances that maintain this delicate balance - they are all in this music."