South Korean trio Jambinai write for Best Fit about the ideas behind the music on new LP A Hermitage.
Mixing traditional South Korean folk and instruments with aspects of metal and post-rock (even hip-hop at one point), Jambinai create an enthralling concoction with moments of all-encompassing darkness and moments of stark lucidity. Bomi Kim plays the "fiddle-like haegum", Ilwoo Lee brings guitar and piri (a Korean bamboo flute), while Eun Youg Sim adds geomungo, a Korean zither. Speaking about the group, Lee says: “We’re darker than other Korean traditional bands."
A Hermitage skips though songs of protest, songs about nature, songs about loss, about anger. Jambinai are exhilariting, and they're unafraid to confront.
Listen to "For Everything That You Lost" below, and read the Track By Track guide after. You can stream the full album at the bottom of the page.
Wardrobe was based on a personal bad experience in 2013. I wanted to express the feeling of then trying to get out of that bad experience; the atmosphere, scent, and situation of the whole thing.
We wanted to make a 'rhythmical riff' using the sound of geomungo's open string. It has ordinary quadruple time so it’s different from the usual Jambinai song.
This song is about the destruction of nature by pollution – not only the obvious effect of pollution, but it also expresses how during this process we also lose many other values like humanity, purity etc. and these are all the things we lost, not just nature.
This song is a collaboration with Korean hip-hop artist, Ignito. We wanted to do something different in terms of mixing traditional Korean music with rap. So we used quadruple time (different with other Korea Tradional - fusion artists) and not made it work really well! I also wanted to express the image of 'something destroyed in the darkness’.
For this song we took inspiration from the traditional Korean Music called "Dae Chui Ta". "Dae Chui Ta" is the music for the procession of the King or march of the army. In a way this is a procession song for everyone. We are all individual people, living our own lives, overcoming hardships, and so I wanted to pay a tribute to all people. We are all kings of our own life’s history.
The structure of this song came together accidentally – we were trying to play G intervals but then this imprecise playing became the base of the song and we found that it added to the rhythm of the song.
Inspired by the traditional playing skill of geomungo. Geomungo is an used to express the rhythm and melody in Korean Traditional Music. I wanted to maximize that unique part of geomungo and make a heavier rhythm and melody.
Two years ago Korea had a really serious accident, the Sewol Ferry Tragedy. I'm talking about that in the song, because many people in the Korean government are keeping silent about the true facts surrounding the incident. Many musicians in Korea made songs of sadness, mourning all those innocent victims but I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to focus more on the anger and suffocation.
A Hermitage is released 17 June on Bella Union. Listen below.