Sunkyeol make idea-driven ambient folk.
Sunkyeol may be one of Korea’s best-kept musical secrets. Their 2009 debut EP was an accomplished indie-folk triumph but since then they’ve been quiet, releasing only one track; a cover version of My Bloody Valentine’s Touched. With a new album out recently however, a buzz is beginning to form around them and it’s hard to imagine they’ll be a secret for much longer.
Korean-born Kyoungmo Kim formed Sunkyeol back in 2009 after leaving his previous band, Especially When. The band’s name is a portmanteau of the Korea word for something needs to be solved (kyeol) with priority (sun).
The atmospheric textures created by the band are twinned with some seemingly improvisational guitar work that is both emotional and technically impressive. The band also have a great mind for the production styles best suited for their work, with sounds and riffs being layered together to the best possible effect. The subdued vocals compliment their foggy sound and add to the wispy ambience of the tracks.
Their first EP is one of the more eclectic indie-folk albums you’re likely to hear. While acoustic guitar sounds run through every track, the songs are crafted in a variety of styles from the ambient sounds of I’ll Write When I’m There, the country-tinged Woolfox Depot or the aptly titled blues track Bluesy.
Sunkyeol are also responsible for a particularly surprising cover with their rendition of My Bloody Valentine’s Touched. Bearing little resemblance to the original and merely borrowing the vocal pattern, Sunkyeol have recreated the track with their own unique style.
Since the release of their first EP in 2009, the band have been quiet. That was, however, up until January of this year when Sunkyeol announced that they’ve been busy working on their first full-length album. The announcement was accompanied by the debut of two brand new songs, 음악이라 부르기로 한다 and 마음을 둘 곳 (roughly translated as Music as a Calling and Where Both the Mind). The former of which is an excellent winter-twinged track in the style of Fleet Foxes, Beach House or even Animal Collective. The album came out a few months ago on limited release and sold out quickly. A second release is coming soon.
There’s so much going on in the work of Sunkyeol. Their music is a wave of emotions and ideas all articulated through their various influences and musical disciplines. We’re expecting big things from them.
For fans of Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, Beach House, Animal Collective, My Bloody Valentine, Grizzly Bear, Memoryhouse, Sufjan Stevens, Warpaint.