Premiere: Jaeho Hwang ‘Betweeness/사이/’

Premiere: Jaeho Hwang ‘Betweeness/사이/’

Jaeho Hwang will release his new EP, ‘Inner-self’, via CHINABOT on 1st June. Listen to, and watch the self-directed video for, ‘Betweeness/사이/’ below. 

‘Inner-self’ is the London/Seoul-based producer’s second EP for CHINABOT, and follows the release of 2019’s ‘Non-self 비자아’ EP. Described as a spiritual, as well as literal follow-up release, the four tracks on ‘Inner-Self’ similarly explore themes of contemporary life through a Buddhist lense. 

The EP’s accompanying text reads: “Where ‘Non-self’ took delight in the glitchy, dissolution of the self in a digital landscape or on the dance floor of a club, ‘Inner-self’ looks back towards Korea’s past, exploring the echoes of past people and cultures in Seoul’s modern landscape.”

Hwang does this by blending elements of industrial techno, gabber and experimental electronic music with traditional Korean instrumentation throughout the record. It’s a remarkable mixture, and the result is an intense rush of sounds that converse at a ferocious pace; thunderous kicks propel sweet-yet-sharp melodies, disjointed voices and wild FX into a dazzling orbital motion. The adrenaline-kick of listening to this release comes when your ear latches onto one its many sonic threads, and surfs it along the waves of distortion and wild sound design.

Hwang’s desire to meld the past with the present on this release stemmed from personal circumstances. The producer moved back to Seoul from London after 10 years in 2020 in order to spend time with his mother, before her death the following year. The process of grief would go onto inform Hwang’s thoughts on how those who have passed continue to impact our lives after they have gone. “During this period [of his mothers passing], I was lost in thought of how the deceased affects or changes us who continue to live in this world, what kind of meaning has been left after they have gone,” he said. 

‘Betweeness/사이/’ exemplifies this creative process by merging the bright, chirruping sound of the Korean Piri flute, with a propulsive techno kick, warped bass undercurrent and fizzing synth FX. Its video does the same, interpersing archive footage of early 20th century Seoul life with clips from Hwang’s own, and demonstrating the attempted use of facial recognition technology on photos of people from the past.

‘Inner-self’ will be available to buy through CHINABOT’s Bandcamp