Releases

Park Jiha • Philos

Release Date: 14/06/2019
Format: CD/LP+DL/DL
Cat-No: GBCD/LP 077

1 Arrival 03:04
2 Thunder Shower 04:16
3 Easy 06:08
4 Pause 02:08
5 Philos 06:05
6 Walker: In Seoul 06:00
7 When I Think Of Her 05:13
8 On Water 04:18

Park Jiha’s debut album “Communion” – released internationally by tak:til last year – drew well deserved attention to the young Korean instrumentalist/composer’s vivid soundworld. The widely acclaimed album graced 2018 critics lists at The WIRE, Pop Matters and The Guardian. Her new album “Philos”– which she calls an evocation of her “love for time, space and sound” –is every bit as inventive, elegant and transcendent as her debut.

While Park Jiha’s music is often contextualized by its kinship with minimalism, ambient and chamber jazz, her creative backbone is Korean traditional music. Jiha formally studied both its theory and practice and has mastered three of its most emblematic instruments:

“I play a traditional Korean instrument called piri which is like an oboe. Piri is a double reed bamboo flute so it can be quite loud. But I also choose saenghwang (mouth organ), yanggeum (hammered dulcimer), percussion or vocal according to the type of music I’m composing. Picking an instrument has to do with the voice in which I choose to talk. Just like human voice, every instrument has its own charm.”

On “Communion” Park Jiha wove these ancient instruments into an ensemble sound that included other musicians contributing on vibraphone, saxophone, bass clarinet and percussion. The effect felt revelatory. An admixture that brought together different epochs and cultures and yielded sonic possibilities that were more futurist than traditionalist. It seemed to naturally evoke Jon Hassell’s “Fourth World” ethos, a music that morphs across time and tradition.

Park Jiha’s new album “Philos,” is both an extension of, and a swerve away from, her previous record. It shares its predecessor’s patience and deeply resonant hypnotic effects. It similarly looks to the future, while continuing to converse with a rich instrumental language from the past. But the overall tone and intent feels much more interior and personal – more rarefied. This evolution was purposeful and integrated into the way the album was composed and recorded. Jiha tells us:

“When making ‘Communion’ I focused on harmony with the different musicians. But this time, I wanted to get back to putting the focus on what I do. I played all of the instruments myself. This way I could make the tracks more solid, and I could focus on one thing at a time.”

Whereas “Communion” featured the classic soundfield of a group of musicians playing in a room,
“Philos” trades that for more density and concentration. Each sound has been given the artist’s full
attention. Fashioned, blended and layered in the way that she hears it. Nothing surrendered to interpretation.

Jiha contends that her new musical approach is reflected in the title of the album. In Greek “Philos” is the plural for philo which can mean “love” or “the liking of a specified thing.”

“When I am working on music, I put a lot focus on what I am doing. I think in the end that is love. ‘Philos’ is about the process of intense repetition. That is a very powerful love, especially on this album, where I worked on all the tracks by myself. This is why I called the album ‘Philos’.”
The album’s compositions include ‘Arrival’, which slowly introduces every sound featured on the record. The gift of unexpected rain in the heat of midsummer is heard on ‘Thunder Shower’. ‘Easy’ is a poem written and recited by the Lebanese artist Dima El Sayed who visited Korea to participate in the Hwaeom Spiritual Music Ritual and was inspired by Park Jiha’s work. The title track ‘Philos’ was created by overlapping sounds and stretching time. ‘Walker: In Seoul’ evokes the vivid soundscape of the city in which Jiha lives. ‘When I Think if Her’ features the ghostly melodies of the yanggeum and saenghwang.

Park Jiha reaches for a sturdy simplicity. A borderless connection between her life and her accomplished musical art:

“My musical influences come from my life, and I think music comes from being human; a person’s music is ultimately representing that person. I know for sure that I have been living sincerely when I make music.”

((Park Jiha plays the piri, saenghwang and yanggeum,
as well as layers of sounds derived from time & space))

Releases

Communion

Release Date: 02/03/2018
Format: CD/LP+DL/DL
Cat-No: GBCD/LP 057

1. Throughout The Night (04:56)
2. Accumulation Of Time (06:38)
3. Communion (06:52)
4. Sounds Heard From The Moon (09:05)
5. The Longing Of The Yawning Divide (03:15)
6. All Souls’ Day (09:03)
7. The First Time I Sat Across From You (08:28)

 

Park Jiha first gained attention as the leader and producer of the neo-traditional Korean duo 숨[suːm]. Her music combines the formalism of classical minimalism, the rootedness of Korean folk motifs and the dynamics of post-rock and contemporary jazz.

A calm from within the storm.
“I don’t want to play only traditional music. I want to play my own music…my own stories.”
– Park Jiha

Over the last few years a rising tide of new Korean artists have staked a place in the global music conversation. Groups like Jambinai, Black String and Park Jiha’s earlier duo 숨[suːm] have created exciting soundworlds that deftly combine the instrumentation and complex expression of Korean traditional music with an array of contemporary sounds such as post-rock, doom metal, downtempo jazz and classical minimalism.

While Park Jiha’s most recent musical endeavor, her debut solo album “Communion,” is another decisive step towards a more personal and forward-looking musical vocabulary, it also is deeply rooted in her traditional music education and background.

“I play a traditional Korean instrument called piri which is like an oboe. Piri is a double reed bamboo flute so it can be quite loud. Another traditional instrument I use is a saenghwang. A saenghwang is an instrument made of bamboo which has many pipes. It is similar to a mouth organ. It’s an instrument where the sound is made from inhaling and exhaling the air.”

“My main instrument is piri. But I choose saenghwang (mouth organ), yanggeum (hammered dulcimer), percussion or vocal according to the type of music I’m composing. Picking an instrument has to do with the voice in which I choose to talk. Just like human voice, every instrument has its own charm. Piri, which has the simplest structure – yet holds so many variations in playing – is for me the most attractive of all. The shape of the instrument is humble but it can express sensitive yet deep energy. I feel most like myself when I play piri.”

Though she has played piri since her youth, Park Jiha started her music career by founding the duo 숨[suːm] with Jungmin Seo in 2007 – after she had finished her musical studies. 숨[suːm]’s music, composed with an array of traditional instruments and buoyed by unorthodox musical structures, was an immediate and profound influence on the new Korean music scene. The duo released the album ‘Rhythmic Space: A Pause for Breath’ in 2010, and ‘숨[suːm] 2nd’ in 2014. Their innovative, neo-traditional compositions began to echo outside of Korea and they were invited to acclaimed international festivals such as WOMAD and SXSW.
.
But Park Jiha started hearing a much different music – one that directly interacted with more distant sound traditions and a more eclectic instrumental palette. Putting 숨[suːm] on pause for the moment, she started collaborating with John Bell (vibraphone) and Kim Oki (bass clarinet, saxophone) to create “Communion,” her first solo album. Originally released in Korea in 2016, the album’s compositions are sometimes hushed and other times slowly swelling and dynamic. But they all share a stark rejection of ornamentation. It is a music of fundaments and clarity. It skillfully unites hypnotic minimalism and experimental strategies with Park Jiha’s distinctive mastery of the piri, saenghwang, and yanggeum.

‘The Longing of the Yawning Divide’ is inspired by the solemnity and resonance of a monastery in Leuven, Belgium, a space where Park Jiha once rehearsed her band. ‘All Souls’ Day’ constructs harmony and rhythmic lift between an unlikely grouping of instruments: the yanggeum, piri, saxophone, vibraphone and the jing. The album’s opening composition, ‘Throughout the Night’ is a precise and keening dialogue between the piri and the bass clarinet.
The atmosphere is calmly radiant. The music navigating the world’s abundant noise, in an almost silent way.

One can sense that this music is deeply connected to its composer. It is not an abstraction. It carefully and conscientiously draws in the world around her. The flow of water and the dawning of seasons. Love and loss. Light. Shadows. Nothing superfluous. A meticulous balance. A communion.

“I don’t know what kind of music I will play in ten years. But I know for sure that I will have been living sincerely.”

 

Park Jiha:
Composer/producer, piri (double reed bamboo flute), saenghwang (mouth organ) & yanggeum (hammered dulcimer)

Kim Oki:
Tenor saxophone, bass clarinet

John Bell:
Vibraphone

Kang Tekhyun:
Percussions

 

Park Jiha

 

Park Jiha’s debut album “Communion” – released internationally by tak:til last year – drew well deserved attention to the young Korean instrumentalist/composer’s vivid soundworld. The widely acclaimed album graced 2018 critics lists at The WIRE, Pop Matters and The Guardian. Her new album “Philos”– which she calls an evocation of her “love for time, space and sound” –is every bit as inventive, elegant and transcendent as her debut.

While Park Jiha’s music is often contextualized by its kinship with minimalism, ambient and chamber jazz, her creative backbone is Korean traditional music. Jiha formally studied both its theory and practice and has mastered three of its most emblematic instruments:

“I play a traditional Korean instrument called piri which is like an oboe. Piri is a double reed bamboo flute so it can be quite loud. But I also choose saenghwang (mouth organ), yanggeum (hammered dulcimer), percussion or vocal according to the type of music I’m composing. Picking an instrument has to do with the voice in which I choose to talk. Just like human voice, every instrument has its own charm.”

On “Communion” Park Jiha wove these ancient instruments into an ensemble sound that included other musicians contributing on vibraphone, saxophone, bass clarinet and percussion. The effect felt revelatory. An admixture that brought together different epochs and cultures and yielded sonic possibilities that were more futurist than traditionalist. It seemed to naturally evoke Jon Hassell’s “Fourth World” ethos, a music that morphs across time and tradition.

Park Jiha’s new album “Philos,” is both an extension of, and a swerve away from, her previous record. It shares its predecessor’s patience and deeply resonant hypnotic effects. It similarly looks to the future, while continuing to converse with a rich instrumental language from the past. But the overall tone and intent feels much more interior and personal – more rarefied. This evolution was purposeful and integrated into the way the album was composed and recorded. Jiha tells us:

“When making ‘Communion’ I focused on harmony with the different musicians. But this time, I wanted to get back to putting the focus on what I do. I played all of the instruments myself. This way I could make the tracks more solid, and I could focus on one thing at a time.”

Whereas “Communion” featured the classic soundfield of a group of musicians playing in a room,
“Philos” trades that for more density and concentration. Each sound has been given the artist’s full
attention. Fashioned, blended and layered in the way that she hears it. Nothing surrendered to interpretation.

Jiha contends that her new musical approach is reflected in the title of the album. In Greek “Philos” is the plural for philo which can mean “love” or “the liking of a specified thing.”

“When I am working on music, I put a lot focus on what I am doing. I think in the end that is love. ‘Philos’ is about the process of intense repetition. That is a very powerful love, especially on this album, where I worked on all the tracks by myself. This is why I called the album ‘Philos’.”
The album’s compositions include ‘Arrival’, which slowly introduces every sound featured on the record. The gift of unexpected rain in the heat of midsummer is heard on ‘Thunder Shower’. ‘Easy’ is a poem written and recited by the Lebanese artist Dima El Sayed who visited Korea to participate in the Hwaeom Spiritual Music Ritual and was inspired by Park Jiha’s work. The title track ‘Philos’ was created by overlapping sounds and stretching time. ‘Walker: In Seoul’ evokes the vivid soundscape of the city in which Jiha lives. ‘When I Think if Her’ features the ghostly melodies of the yanggeum and saenghwang.

Park Jiha reaches for a sturdy simplicity. A borderless connection between her life and her accomplished musical art:

“My musical influences come from my life, and I think music comes from being human; a person’s music is ultimately representing that person. I know for sure that I have been living sincerely when I make music.”

((Park Jiha plays the piri, saenghwang and yanggeum,
as well as layers of sounds derived from time & space))