“Oslon” and “curated” merged to become “Oslated” in 2016, an emblematic label of the South Korean scene. Over time, the project became an entire underground movement, divided into events, three podcasts, a premiering service and well-designed organic releases. The label is a culture on its own, and a sound: we all have in mind the compilations “VA – Seoul” (part 1 & part 2), “VA – Jeju” and “Chimhyangmoo 침향무“, as well as epic albums, such as “Sensazione” by Romi, which gave the label its identity, “Västberga Allé” by Eyvind Blix, one of the label’s biggest hits and the transcendental “The World Trembles In My Hands” by Soramimi.
High supporter of both local and international artists, authentic, elegant, in love with the atmospheric, drone-ish and psychedelic sounds to the utmost degree, Lee Jong-min AKA Oslon shines of thousand fires in our scene. His luminous project has largely contributed to giving a warm sunny flavour to his native country. In his selection below, the deep artist opens the doors of his rich culture and invites us for a contemplative tour…
Oslon: “Transistorhead” is an electronic music project created by Sung-Ki Min in 1998. He’s tremendously important in South Korea for having been one of the pioneers of our techno culture, initiated in the late nineties. He’s for instance one of the first to have dropped a techno party here. His experimental approach reminds some works from Kraftwerk and Aphex Twin, with whom he certainly got inspired. Getting his sound in a country that opened itself very late to electronic music was magical. He’s all alone an unmissable monument in our musical history.
Unjin – Atramentum (The End Of The Orbit) [Kizen Records, 2018]
Oslon: Unjin’s abstract techno & ambient soundscapes have inspired many young artists in East Asia. Unjin is a Seoul-based artist and ECI Korea’s owner. His track “Atramentum” is part of a substantial album, on a label that I appreciate. The track, with its haunting resonance and glitchy interferences, its minimal flavour and subtle slow-evolving energy, somehow fascinates me. The hypnotic twist at 4:12 adds an interesting groove and contributes to the well-thought-out build-up. It’s profound and well-designed.
Joton – Sendice (Soolee Remix) [More Than Less Records, 2017]
Oslon: This remix was released by legendary Korean techno producer Soolee on his label “More Than Less Records”. In Soolee’s vision, the original electro version becomes a nine-minute-long helicopter track, with a deep mind-bending atmosphere. A pure bliss…
Messiahwaits – Hyper Ritual [MHz, 2020]
Oslon: Also mental with its bass arpeggio and repetitive incantation, “Hyper Ritual” is a fresh track to rave with. Messiahwaits, founder of the label MHz, is a well-established DJ and Producer here in Korea. The track, pretty orthodox, has some gothic & industrial flavours, which properly translate his dark side.
Soramimi – Cold Cartilage [Monday Off, 2019]
Oslon: Soramimi is a very special artist for me, notably for having produced one of our greatest albums in Oslated. I’m happy to share what she produces on Monday Off, another label I follow. Korean-American producer based in New York and co-owner of Dusk Notes, she designs impressive sonic layers through deep hallucinatory compositions. Her project focuses on music as narrative imagery, with a celestial sound illustrated by cerebral textures and rhythms. “Cold Cartilage”, in particular, pleases me for its whisper-alike structure and its mesmerising game of tension.
Kimtaeyeon – Recall [Subskillz, 2021]
Oslon: Kimtaeyeon is a multifaceted artist based in Incheon, South Korea. He curates stunning minimal art exhibitions merging fresh neon visuals with experimental music and eventually contemporary dance. He surrounds himself with other talented artists to build together “alive hypnotic pop art”, sort of, such as in his performance “Dancing Calligraphy – Forest“, which I recommend watching. He strives for the development of Incheon’s culture & art and deserves more support. That’s what I want to “Recall” when thinking of his track. It has the groove of a dancefloor banger while containing a hint of experimental touch that makes it very unique.
69 – Rockin’ 2 [Vindico Records, 2013]
Oslon: Kyung-Won Kim, known by the project name “69”, is a multi-talented artist: producer, DJ, guitarist, sound engineer: both electronic and rock music run in his veins for a rebellious mixture that I enjoy listening to. His “Rockin'” series has been produced using a large variety of vintage analogue gear, carefully programmed to give this unique, natural and warm flavour to his music. The EP is like a hidden pearl on the Irish label Vindico Records.
TO START A MIX
Asllan – Oath [Oslated, 2021]
Oslon: Asllan is a new rising Korean artist who produces exclusively on Oslated. “Oath” is the title track of his second EP “Sad Legend”, showing great maturity already in both the creative and technical processes. His dark tribalism is musically profound and nicely evocative of the ancient primitive ages. The tracks are all built on simple yet powerful low traditional rhythms of the third world, and its instant immersive experience makes it a perfect track to introduce a tribal mix.
FOR THE PEAK TIME
Bumho – Gong [Oslated, 2021]
Oslon: Bum-Ho Sin is a solid DJ and producer, also known as Zeze, the brain of “IDIOTAPE”, a world-class electronic band representing South Korea. Given to Oslated as a present for its 5th anniversary, “Gong” also perfectly represents the artist’s brilliant techno stuff. My Norwegian friend Pijãr said about this track: « I think that no one has ever combined the organic approach with the synthesis so well: the result is impressive. »
Oslon: Min-Gyu Seo AKA Mojave started producing in 1998 but doesn’t release a lot of music. His talent has however been highly noticed in my country: in 2018, his album “Something the Braun Tube Left Us” was nominated in the 15th annual KMA Korea Music Award in the category of “The Best Dance/Electronic Album of the Year”. He’s aiming for Techno, IDM, and Ambient in a variety of ways. He intentionally escapes from the logical control of the computer to create analogue movements and sensations, such as replicating the feeling caused by someone’s presence, as illustrated for instance in this remix. More than anything, Mojave is one of the figures who symbolises the launch of the Korean electronic music scene along with “Transistorhead”, and I have chosen this track also for the pleasure of ending my charts on a psychedelic note.
WRITING BY: JONG-MIN LEE & CEDRIC FINKBEINER | 15 DECEMBER 2021