Global album of the month – June

Park Jiha – Philos

Park Jiha trained in classical Korean instrumentation and has been a key figure, along with bands such as Jambinai, in firmly pushing forward the lineage of “traditional” Korean music. Where her debut, 2018’s Communion, was a group effort, interweaving traditional Korean instruments – the reed wind piri and gargantuan saenghwang – with saxophone and bass clarinet, Philos is a far more isolated affair.

Here, her vision finds its clearest expression – featuring just four instruments, or five if you also count the voice of poet Dima El Sayed reading her piece Easy on a song of the same name. As the album’s sole player, Jiha transcends the sum of her tools’ parts to create a deceptively enveloping soundscape that evolves from soft, ambient warmth and playful melody to brittle, bone-rattling tension – textures so uncannily rendered that they almost sound programmed by computer.

Read the review column in the Guardian.

[This piece was published on 14/06/19]