Friday, April 13, 2012

HYONE [ヒョソエ] - Pokbar 1 Chojeon [폭발1초전 ] CD (199?)


1. 심오야
2. 울릉도트위스트
3. 키다리미스터김
4. 목석같은사나이
5. 노란 샤쓰의 사나이
6. 닐리리 맘보
7. 올산큰애기
8. 빗속의여인
9. 커피한잔
10. 날보러와
11. 아! 대한민
12. 윌남에서 돌아온 김상사
13. 님은 믄곳에
14. 오솔길을 따라사
15. 나는 너를
16. 싫
17. 아름다운강산
18. 비에젖은비둘기
19. 그대여변치마오
20. 노럐하는곳에
21. 잘있어요
22. 충북찬가

Released: 199?
Label: TGR (distributed by P-Vine)
Catalogue number(s): CMCD-1004 / PCD-3452
Format: CD

Bitrate: 320 kbps

Even though the main focus of this blog lies on obscure Japanese underground vinyl releases of the 80:s, we will make an exception for this exceptional CD. Probably released sometime during the mid-90:s and then later slightly repackaged and distributed for a Japanese market of music fiends and freaks – I myself and my friend and colleague Loser Knife (the man behind the wonderful A Softly Sleeping Rose blog) are cautiously proud to bring to you, dear readers, the Korean monstrosity that is HYONE (written either in katakana as ヒョソエ or in hangul as 현아. Forthis review, we’ve chosen the katakana way of writing the name as to avoid confusing this chugging chaos with a certain popular K-pop star).

Loser Knife = bold text
nattliga_toner = italics

폭발1초전 is, for lack of a better word, quite a trip. It's complete disregard for all things conventional is something that is at once arresting and off putting. The grand scale of the album is one of the major factors that make this album a daunting piece of music; the tempo for almost every single song is exactly the same. I find myself constantly checking my music player to make sure I haven't lost track of which song I've just finished and which song I have just begun. What's worse is that it often is nearly impossible to tell when a song has ended; there is no chorus/verse/chorus theme going on here, and the beginnings and endings are almost meaningless, as if HYONE/ ヒョソエ was completely unaware of those sorts of norms when he/she was recording it. In fact, it's almost comical to me to include any separation of tracks; to me it seems like HYONE/ ヒョソエ simply clipped the song up later on, and then randomly assigned titles.

It's like strange little jingles floating into each other - sometimes (but not always) separated by strange synthethic percussion and HYONE's excited yelps and grunts. The sheer massiveness and relentlessness of the whole thing is quite mind-boggling.

So, the album is certainly not something to just sit down with and go "okay, I'm in the mood for this song right now . . . "; the whole thing should be heard as a whole. While I have indeed sat down with this document on the deeper crevices of madness and rainbow colored depravity quite a few times, I would perhaps warn any new listeners against that, if only to protect their sanity.

This thing is like an inverted take on the 2001 monolith - a gargantuan slab of brainscrambling madness which grants whoever that comes into contact with it the gift of STUPID! To top it off; seeing as most of the songs blend into each other so seamlessly, I get the impression that at least large chunks of this were recorded in one take. Which is surely as bizarre a feat as they come.

This album absolutely gives the crazed warbling of the likes of 人生 or Picky Picnic a run for their money. Actually . . . I'm inclined to say that this album tops any albums by those bands simply because I don't believe the lunatic that recorded this album INTENDED to make it insane. I'm sure he/she wanted it to be at least a little weird but there does still seem to be some sort of debased sincerity present here.

I'm not even sure he wanted it to be weird at all. If I were to use any word or phrase to describe HYONE's music, apart from "insane" and "endurance test", I would say "heartfelt". To my ears, the music presented is 100% blood and tears genuine heartfelt emotion - albeit presented in a truly odd way.

I used to frequent this thai restaurant which apart from such charms as cheap beer, excellent food and (at times) wonderfully atonal karaoke, were also haunted by this utterly bizarre huge (both in regards to height and width) dude who prior to intaking a meal would pour huge quantities of soy sauce over the free shrimp chips served out of a wicker basket as a starter. With the soy spilling out of the basket onto the table and floor he'd relish these outlandish snacks while waiting for his main course. I'm not really sure what I'm getting at with this little story, but the weirdness experienced is about on par with the aural outlandishness provided by HYONE.

HYONE/ヒョソエ almost sounds like he/she's performing over a karaoke machine, due to the unchanging beat of the drum machine, and the very slight changes in the keyboard rhythms. The echo of his/her voice certainly guarantees that he/she was working with very low quality equipment here. I imagine this was recorded in a basement somewhere in South Korea, with very minimal and very cheep recording instruments (perhaps a solitary tape recorder, positioned close by his keyboard and mic). I see him/her dancing and working up a sweat, wearing baggy shorts and a brightly colored undershirt while he/she puts all of his/her soul into what would become this album.

The weirdness isn't even constrained to the music either, but also bleeds out into the packaging as well. The phenomenally unexceptional cover art aside, we're also faced with such quaint irregularities such as double catalogue numbers and a non-existant 22:nd track listed on the back. This also came with an obi in Japanese rather than Korean - I'm pretty sure this is because a Japanese label (a rumour suggests P-Vine) imported original copies of the Korean CD and repackaged them (ie. added an obi) for a domestic audience.

While I most certainly can't point out a favorite song, I could point out a favorite section on this album. That would have to be from track eight to track fifteen (where he/she begins to use the deeper sounding keys on his/her keyboard, giving the songs a much thicker and deeper sound).

In my opinion the two final tracks are the ones worthy of special notice. Clearly recorded separately from the rest of the album, it is here that the otherwordly strangeness of HYONE truly reveals itself. Even though they follow the same basic formula as the rest of the CD, HYONE's excited vibrato turns into a weird distorted warble, pushing this even further out into the Twilight Zone. Truly alien music.

I've been told that the music of HYONE belongs to a Korean genre called pon-chack. An inherently quite peculiar genre, pon-chack supposedly got it's start when cheap keyboards went publicly availiable in Korea sometime during the early nineties. In a sense I guess it's akin to the impact the WASP synthesizer had on UK post-punk, synth and power electronics in the eighties, except we're talking about dinky casio setups here rather than relatively sophisticated synthesizers. From what samples of it I've heard, pon-chack (sometimes called techno-trot, if I'm not mistaken) is a pretty freaky genre all of it's own, but I still think that HYONE ekes out a truly singular detour all of his/her's own.

To summarize, I find myself enthralled, disturbed, awed, and most of all confused by this album. To quote the great film critic Roger Ebert (in his review of Dusan Makavejev opus, Sweet Movie . . . actually, if I was to make a comparison between this album and a film I would most certainly choose Sweet Movie to compare it to; both are sickly saccharine and yet so grossly bizarre that they defy proper understandings of art): "And if you find this review unsatisfactory, so do I: the [album] defies criticism even while it seems to demand it, and I keep on thinking about it even while I know I'm not getting anywhere."


Loser Knife said...

prepare for your brains to melt, you guys.

nattliga_toner said...

Kiss your brain cells goodbye.

HHEALTHH said...

"I see him/her dancing and working up a sweat, wearing baggy shorts and a brightly colored undershirt while he/she puts all of his/her soul into what would become this album." + that whole thai restaurant part... GOLDEN

Anonymous said...

I'm not going to read the review bucause it's way too long but i hope it sounds good.

Loser Knife said...

you're so cruel, Blemishis-chan . . .

ido said...

Downloading this now. Sounds too fun to pass up.

Anonymous said...

Sounds nice and all but I can't even download it. I'll get a download speed of about 30kb/s for several seconds but then it just drops to zero.

Anonymous said...

LMFAO great review, rly excited 2 hear this

shane140 said...

Great review, guys. After listening to it all I can say is it really is an experience.

Rachel Owlglass said...

I can't wait to hear this! But I keep getting a "500 - Internal Server Error" when trying to download it - any ideas?

nattliga_toner said...

> Rachel

Hmm, that's strange. It could be a temporary issue over @ DivShare, so try again in a little while. I'll try and get some mirrors for this up in a little while - I just noticed MediaFire deleted all my re-ups made thusfar, so I guess they're out of the picture. Has anybody got an alternative filehosting site to recommend?

Rachel Owlglass said...

I finally managed to download it after trying a few different browsers.

Thanks for sharing it!

Can I ask. Where did you get the CD? I've been looking for it since I heard a track from it on YouTube. I couldn't find it in any Japanese or Korean web shops or auctions.

Any chance you have this, which is sort of in the same genre:

nattliga_toner said...

> Rachel

You're very welcome!

I actually got this from Last time I checked there were two more used copies availiable. Kinda pricy though, but I haven't seen this availiable anywhere else at all.

Sorry, I'm a total novice to pon-chack and related stuff - HYONE's the only thing I've got in that genre ATM. It's definitely a genre I'd love to delve deeper into, but I don't really know where to start looking.

Haha, that clip is sick! That channel is totally awesome btw, too bad it isn't updated anymore.

Rachel Owlglass said...

Thanks. I'll have a look at again.

Maybe you already know Epaksa, in any case here he is on Japanese tv:

Rachel Owlglass said...

By the way. Track 13 is a Kim Choo Ja cover - here's the original:

Rachel Owlglass said...

Actually, several of them are Kim Choo Ja covers

nattliga_toner said...

> Rachel

Haha, amazing! Since the songs on this CD sound so very well rehearsed, I can totally imagine HYONE as a street entertainer or such belting out bizarre takes of various popular songs as well as (I guess) a few originals.

Some far out keyboard parts on that Kim Choo Ja clip you posted btw!

sex questions to ask your girlfriend said...

Great songs and fantastic album. THanks

Gregory Joseph said...

best album of 2012

-a msuic fan

Gregory Joseph said...

great E Paksa vid

he's still at it! 2011 performance for some very rowdy grandmothers:

Gregory Joseph said...

Jin Dohyong (??) with a sort-of Kraftwerk cover, excellent:

nattliga_toner said...

> Gregory Joseph

YES! Many thanks for putting a name on that weird toupé Kraftwerk synth madness. Totally my #1 Korean want ATM!

Anonymous said...

The fuck am I listening to?

Gregory Joseph said...

Found a couple E-Pak-Sa albums, will be posting in the next few days.

nattliga_toner said...

> Gregory Joseph

Cool, (cautiously) looking forward to it! Also, I finally added Wax Mask to my blogroll.

Gregory Joseph said...

The E-Pak-Sa albums I was able to find are already pretty findable. I'm working on getting some more elusive Pon-Chak material.

It seems like running one rhythm track through the entire album is the hallmark of the Pon-Chak genre, as the E-Pak-Sa albums are just as repetitive as the HYONE material.

HHEALTHH said...

Nattliga! You wrote the katakana to HYONE as HYOSOE, just sayin'

Finasih Elly said...

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satanica said...

폭발1초전 is actually an incorrect translation, it should read 폭팔1초전 (one second to explosion). also the band name is 현애 (hyon-eh), not 현아 (hyon-a).

thanks for the post! look forward to hearing this ^_^

satanica said...

ohhh wait actually i mess that up, 폭발 is it!

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