Music for 1/22/22!!! Okkyung Lee

@@@ Okkyung Lee: Yeo-Neun (Shelter Press, 2020) I got to this recording via Bandcamp’s best of 2020 list. I’ve heard her music before and have liked it a whole bunch. The first piece is slow, contemplative and beautiful, with a harp opening the piece before the piano, bass, and Lee’s cello eventually arrive. It’s hard to disassociate the harp from New Age feels as it is at the very center of New Age-y feels, but when the full ensemble comes in it is just one of the instruments. The composition leans sweet and melancholy, that’s just true. I like it but at certain points feel like it’s a bit too sweet for me. The production here is plain but somewhat extended, it has a high frequency spaciousness to it that folks love that I don’t love as much. There are places in track 3 where things really start to bustle and move and I find a manic harp much more interesting than a stereotypical sweet harp, but it is important to note that the first tracks a listener hears build a foundation and those are different from this track 3. Track 4 opens pretty killer, so for me it’s a mixed bag. Ms. Lee undeniably has talent as both a composer and performer, it’s more of a question of how it’s packaged and presented. I like this without jumping up and down but maybe it will make you jump up and down.

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