Yun — Mobius Strip
(Si Wan SRMK-003, 1996, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1997-02-01
Yun is essentially Korean multi-instrumentalist Jo Yun on guitars, keyboards, and percussion, with a male and female vocalist, and bassist Hyoung-Suk Kang. While other 'progressive' material has come out of Korea in the past (the Mike Oldfield-like multi-instrumentalist Sung Woo Lee comes to mind at first, but there have been others as well), this is probably the first that fits squarely in the realms of symphonic prog, yet even that tag is not totally accurate, as Yun's music is far more multifaceted and unique than that label would normally imply. The symphonic aspect is very lush, built up with many layers of synth; one might be reminded of Lito Vitale's post-Mia album, Tribute, or even The Enid at times, yet these comparisons only account for the textural elements of the sound, and not the composition. The percussive elements herein may recall Island period Jade Warrior and even some of the instrumental works of Osamu Kitajima. Conceptually, Yun draws on western folk, eastern traditional, and progressive rock structures to build lengthy multi-sectional pieces. The seven tracks are primarily instrumental, with voices seemingly added as an afterthought, with lyrics in Korean, as well as spoken parts, hooting and shouting; never do the vocals overpower the music, nor does the music ever seem to exist solely to support them, as might be the case in a more song oriented style. Intense, introspective, and cinematic, this is powerful music that begs for repeat listens. Most should find plenty here to enjoy.
Some mention must be made of the completely overblown gimmick packaging, beginning with an oversized 6x6 digipak that folds apart from the center, creating sort of a cross. In the center, four pieces fold up to create a small pyramid under which the CD and booklet are stored. It's interesting, and unique, with beautiful artwork, but in the end, in the interest of speed and utility, this writer just went and got a standard jewel box to store the disc in.
Related artist(s): Jo Yun
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more