Moon Haewon releases second album

Jazz singer Vocalist Moon released her second album Tenderly last week. Recorded in Japan with an all-Japanese jazz ensemble, it’s very much a sister piece to her superb first album, Kiss Me. This release, available on CD only in Japan and Hong Kong, is another collection of inspired jazz and pop covers. Moon’s seemingly effortless […]

It will pass, someday: Gothic ethereality and introspection in RM’s Mono

RM’s second mixtape, Mono, dropped on 23 October 2018 almost two and a half years after the self-titled RM, which was released on 20 March 2015. Mono was accompanied by a music video for the final track “Forever Rain” with lyric videos released for “Seoul” and “Moonchild” on 23 and 24 October respectively. It followed J-Hope’s earlier […]

The Top 5 Gothic KPOP Music Videos

Dr Colette Balmain applies her specialism in Gothic Cinema to the world of KPOP – perfect for the Halloween season… ‘Gothic forces its readers, viewers, and listeners to identify the ghosts that haunt them…’ (Isabella van Elferan, 2012, Gothic Music, p. 15). 1. SHINee “Married to the Music” (2015) “Married to the Music” doesn’t sound […]

The end of the journey: desire, recognition and redemption in BTS’s “IDOL”

Dr Colette Balmain examines the culmination of the BTS Love Yourself series: “IDOL” is the lead single from BTS’s final album in the “Love Yourself” series. The series comprises one extended storyworld music video, Love Yourself 起 Wonder; one mini album, Love Yourself 承 Her; one full length album, Love Yourself 轉 Tear; and one […]

The Garden of the Forking Paths: Difference and Repetition in BTS “Epiphany”

Dr Colette Balmain examines the BTS comeback trailer for Love Yourself 結 Answer: “Epiphany” is the comeback trailer for BTS’ last entry in the LOVE YOURSELF Series: Love Yourself 結 Answer. LOVE YOURSELF is a transmedia and multimedia project involving the expansion of the BTS Universe through the construction of a metafictional storyworld established by Music […]

Artistry, Creativity & Emotionality: Choreographies of the self in “Fake Love”

Dr Colette Balmain examines the lead single from BTS’s Love Yourself 轉 Tear: “Fake Love” is the lead single from BTS’ third studio album Love Yourself 轉 Tear (they have also released three Japanese studio albums, two repackages, five EPs and two single albums to date) and follows, both temporally and thematically, the comeback trailer “Singularity” […]

Trajectories of Meaning in “Singularity” – the BTS Comeback Trailer: Love Yourself 轉 Tear

Dr Colette Balmain analyses the comeback trailer for BTS’s third studio album: From Serendipity to Singularity: A Universe of Meaning “Singularity” is the comeback trailer for BTS’ third studio or full length album, Love Yourself: Tear which will be released on 18th May 2018. This follows up the mini album or EP, Love Yourself: Her […]

Neverland: Holland’s ground-breaking K-pop debut in context

Dr Colette Balmain discusses the controversial debut MV from Korea’s “first openly gay” KPOP idol. “Never lose self-esteem and be confident” (Holland, 2018) On 22st January 2018, at exactly midnight KST, Holland released his debut single and MV “Neverland”.  Since its release, “Neverland” has racked up over 6 million views on YouTube and Holland has […]

Songlines reviews some Korean releases

As if to warm us up for this year’s K-music Festival, Songlines July issue reviews three recent Korean CDs: The one of most interest to past attendees of the festival will be a review of Jambinai’s latest release, A Hermitage. Songlines were strangely lukewarm about it. Not so Consequence of Sound: “Experimental outfit blends traditional Korean […]

BoA’s 8th – a nicely comforting comeback

I’m rather enjoying BoA’s 8th Korean album (Kiss My Lips, released a couple of days ago). There’s nothing particularly earth-shattering musically, but it’s all kind of comforting. And I hope she doesn’t get into trouble for the 4th track, Shattered, which at 2’52” is very close to the chorus of Daft Punk’s Get Lucky. On […]

Hyelim Kim reviewed in Songlines magazine

Congratulations to Hyelim Kim for receiving a four-star review from Songlines magazine (Jan / Feb 2014 edition) for her debut CD, Nim: Taegum Collection. The disk, released in 2013 at a concert at the Royal Asiatic Society, contains many of the pieces she has been performing in London over the past year or two, from […]

CD review: Nah Youn Sun — Lento

Nah Youn Sun: Lento ACT Records, April 2013 Nah Youn Sun’s collaboration with Swedish guitarist Ulf Wakenius continues to bear fruit. This is her third album with Wakenius on the ACT label (and her 8th studio album overall), and like her previous ACT releases they are supported by Lars Danielsson on bass and Xavier Desandre-Navarre […]

LKL Critics’ Choice 2012: Saharial

Thanks to a hectic work schedule, concerts and a rather filthy cold – I’m just getting down to reviewing my purchases for last year and in some cases – listening to them! The final list of five are as follows: Nell Vol. 5: Slip Away – released 10 April 2012 This 5th album is the […]

The London Korean Links Awards 2012

The seventh eclectic and highly personal commemoration of the best of the past year. Personality of the Year Runner up There were plenty of personalities in the South Korean Olympic team, particularly the pistol shooters, archers and the gymnasts. But the athlete that everyone will remember is fencer Shin A-lam, cheated out of a place […]