The somewhat spartan surroundings of the main performance space in Shoreditch’s Rich Mix was an ideal place in which to enjoy one of the most interesting fusion bands to have come out of Korea. For LKL, it was the highlight of the K-Music festival so far, and it more than lived up to my extremely high expectations.
The three main instrumentalists came on stage and took their seats, and the performance started imperceptibly. You thought the guitarist was simply tuning up, but as the notes repeated themselves and the other musicians joined in with glockenspiel and geomungo you realised that things had already started. As the music evolved the improvisatorial feeling was reinforced, but you realised that this music was very carefully planned. Electronics which looped selected phrases enabled the musicians to multi-track themselves, embellishing the music performed in the previous loop. The guitarist took up the piri to contrast its haunting sound with the gentle percussion of the other instruments. This was an introverted conversation with themselves and with each other – and appropriately the title of the piece included that word (Conversation Between Trees Pt 2). It was a magical start to the evening and if that is all we were to be given we would have left happy. But there was more to come. Could we have coped with a whole set of music in the same vein? I think I probably could, but when the drummer and an additional guitarist came on stage the atmosphere changed. Is it possible for music whose crescendo was so head-bangingly raucous at the same time also seem so private and introverted? Somehow Jambinai’s music achieves it.
The set of eight numbers ended with just the three main players on stage, ending as we had begun. It was a deeply satisfying end to an evening which explains why Jambinai are festival favourites. Why has it taken them so long to play in London? Please come again soon.
Jambinai’s playlist was: Conversation Between Trees Pt 2 | Glow Upon Closed Eyes | Time of Extinction | Untitled02 | For Everything That You Lost | Grace Kelley | Naboorak | Connection.