Tuesday 23 July 2019

Park Hye Jin - If U Want It

“Shoutout to the YouTube algorithm one time,” reads scallrow’s comment – the top comment –beneath Park Hye Jin’s “I Don’t Care”, which has been played on Youtube 844,600 times at the time of writing. The accompanying ‘video’ is a static, black and white image of the 24 -year-old: the same image that identifies her on various social media outlets, and that covers the sleeve of the limited 12’’ vinyl (now sold out) of her debut ‘micro album’ If U Want It (released via clip.art), which features the track “I Don’t Care”.

I confess to being ignorant about k-pop and Korean electronic music. Even I, ignoramus that I am, have increasingly noticed Korean lyrics popping up over dance beats on western European and American outlets, from Peggy Gou, the Korean DJ who has now played Berghain and has been featured on BBC Radio, to Yaeji, the wildly popular Korean-American artist who blends elements of house, hip-hop, and techno to extraordinary effect.

I hate to give the impression of crudely or superficially connecting two of the only Korean electronic artists that I know… but it’s hard to miss the connections between Park Hye Jin and Yaeji: the techno/ house/hip-hop influences; the (for lack of better descriptors and imagination) ‘dreamy’ synths and production; the gentle singing that sometimes reaches a whisper; and, of course, the tendency to sing, sometimes in layered duet, in both Korean and English. The connection is more evident with Yaeji’s more ‘house-y’ 4/4 tracks, like “Guap”.

When Youtube’s algorithm decided I would like this, it was not mistaken; so, yes, reluctantly, ‘shout out one time’.

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