sometimes what appears as a blasting piece of music may be perceived as a poor, insufferable hullabaloo, and it is amusing how music can heighten feelings and sensibility. as my sibling looked at me with incomprehensible and fierce eyes, its mouth trembling as it contained an unexpected form of anger and temper, it was kind of hard for me to explain why this (too-short) concert had knocked me down, and to engage the debate of what-is-noise, what-is-music.
the subject of the controversy was an instrumental band discovered prior to the Great Escape Festival, this early summer. before heading to the festival, the frog was tortured by an obsessive idea in mind: see Jambinai (잠비나이) in concert. this very band had struck the frog with the monumental song They Keep Silence, which closes their latest album. a thrilling piece of art fusing the tenderness of meditative landscapes and the explosive fury proper to post-rock.
signed to Bella Union, Jambinai released in june A Hermitage, the band’s second album and first for the label, which was recorded in seoul, south korea. their music is transported by Ilwoo Lee (guitar, piri, a korean flute made of bamboo), Bomi Kim (haegum, a fiddle-like string instrument) and Eunyong Sim (geomungo, the korean zither), who mix together standard (post) rock instruments (guitar, bass and drums) with traditional south-korean instruments. when touring overseas, the trio takes the form of a quintet, with Jihoon Ok on bass and Jae Hyuk Choi who takes care of volcanic percussions.
that very night in brighton, their concert was carried away by a common desire to give substance to a (admittedly) loud, tempered sound, but also a fatherly mildness. the concert was also the occasion to discover a band who probably revamp south-korean traditional music, with a delicious, generous apocalyptic touch. but over and above that, the brief thirty minutes unveiled one or two ambient, contemplative songs that were full of poetry and sentimentality. the delicacy of traditional instruments ideally complemented the intensity of the electric guitar and formed a very unusual haze, as For Everything That You Lost or Connection corroborate.
the various shades of post-rock show obviously that cacophony and music can pair with elegance, so my sibling may be right after all. however, Jambinai possess the necessary refinement to compose emotion-charged songs that are positively inspired. fear, anger, hope are sensibly melted, they carry a very distinctive intensity and beauty to their music. recently published by the band, The Mountain, which was filmed at the MMCA (national museum of modern and contemporary art, korea) by the seoul-based artistic agency COMPANY F, evinces the grandeur and fineness of this band full of promise.
A Hermitage is available here. long live noise and the magnificent Jambinai!