Release Date: Jun 17, 2016
Record label: Bella Union
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Post-Rock
Jambinai are a South Korean group who incorporate traditional instruments such as the geomungo (a long zither plucked with a short bamboo stick while seated) and the haegeum (a small, thin fiddle-like string instrument) into their thundering, angular rock music. Their songs can be intense and overwhelming, often reaching furious, ecstatic peaks, but there are also many calmer, more graceful moments, and the musicians are fantastic at controlling their energy and switching between dynamics. Their compositions are primarily instrumental, and it's inevitable that the group will get tagged as "post-rock," but their huge, crushing guitars seem far more geared toward metal and post-hardcore than the pastoral prettiness often implied by the genre (which, to be fair, has its loud side).
Jambinai are a South Korean trio who deal in unorthodox heaviness, unusual not only in their use of traditional Korean instrumentation, but also in their approach to metal and post-rock. The album’s opener Wardrobe pummels the listener with noise in a way that is initially evocative of experimentalists Zu, but which slowly reveals sinister metal riffs flanked by the sinuous whine of the haegum (a traditional fiddle-like instrument). Echo Of Creation continues the onslaught, with delicate pockets of melancholia giving way to eviscerating howls and bursts of elasticated violence.
All of humanity feels anger, sorrow, awe. It’s a wonder that we ever feel completely alien to anyone else, no matter how distant their culture may seem. That may seem like some Hallmark bullshit, but the music world bears it out. The big, raw, visceral emotions break the language barrier. A kid ….
Think of the modern sound of South Korea and your mind might be immediately drawn to the saturated colours and marshmallow sweetness of K-Pop, an industry worth hundreds of millions of dollars with an audience which stretches across the world. Its a genre of music which can boast the first video to reach one billion views on YouTube, yet dig a little deeper and there is a wealth of innovative musicians and artists beyond Girls Generation and "Gangnam Style". Jambinai are one of those artists.