Keda’s Hwal: E’Jong-Ju and his Geomungo

15th March 2016

Title: Hwal

Label: Parentheses

I knew nothing about the instrument called the a man and his Geomungo (a traditional Korean stringed musical instrument of the zither family) until I heard this record but, bloody hell, it’s effective. Well, atmospheric in terms of is presence and power and powerful organic abilities. It provides not so much rhythm and pace as a surprise attack on the senses as it intrudes upon the growing sonic noise that emanates from the first few seconds of this CD. A sonic noise that is gentle and almost undetectable from the off but grows like the clouds of an oncoming storm. A storm that intrigues and plays with the ear in almost pleasant terms from a great distance but becomes more threatening and portentous as it get closer, threatening to trigger that fight or flight mode in all of us.

The insistent bass rhythm that sits in the rear of the soundstage, running at a walking heart beat level, almost accompanies the growing static…like a drummer boy, plugged onto the side of encroaching infrantry. Such is the weight of the oncoming sonics that the music pushes you down into your chair with each passing minute.

This is E’Jong-Ju, or Keda to his friends, a French-based Korean musician. But Keda is also a band of sorts, a duo at least, finished by Mathias Delplanque,  French electronic music composer born in Ouagadougou, which requires a long run up if you wish to pronounce it successfully.

The theme of this album is texture. Nothing else. This is all about how the music affects you, the listener. There are plenty of noises and edges and bleeps and bobs and hums and scratches and drones and synth-based vocal arias but, when it comes down to it, Keda wants you to feel the music and experience the sound in any way you can. Coming from a decent master, this is album will amply reward a top notch hi-fi because, on such a system, it’ll scare the living daylights out of you.