Friday, April 6, 2012

A Little Bit of K-Pop and the LSO

Recently on a business trip to the Philippines and back via Singapore Airlines I had the opportunity (and around 20 hours in the air) to see a few films that I has been meaning to catch. "My Week with Marlyn" was one that I was glad to be able to see.  Then I saw a number of films that were not quite so good and finally I saw 10 minutes or so of a some films that were a waste of 10 minutes even aboard a crowded Boeing.

I then turned my attention to the foreign language films and managed to traverse several thousand kilometers watching Bollywood blockbusters. Most of which stared the same actor and for some reason were at least half set in London. Anyway I quite like Indian films so managed to enjoy a a few hours with the colour and movement and subtitles.

On the last half of the return leg to Sydney I had enough of the tiny video screen and turned my attention to the audio selections. I skipped the English language playlists figuring there would be not much new there for me. It was then that I did the hard work that this blog is all about. I sampled all of the artists in the Korean and Japanese selections looking for new and interesting artists just so you don't have to.

There was a mixture as you would expect. Some greatest hits collections by superstars from years gone by and a host of boy-bands and girl-bands from the current Asian Pop scene. I found some of the greatest hits collections interesting. In the big production numbers from the 70's and 80's to my ear they that strange quality where you suspect they are big hits in their own country for the elements of the song that are western but to me the appealing parts are the bits that sound different. The best example of this effect is the track Sukiyaki by Kyu Sakamoto.A worldwide smash in 1963.

Anyway I digress. While I would have like to follow up on some of the super stars featured this brings me to one of the first problems. With some artist names and albums only shown in Korean or Japanese and my firm resolve to only mangle one language (english) I have had a hard time tracking them down. No matter where I searched for an album titled "Super Greats" I could not find the Japanese artist I was looking for.

Skipping (not literally) pas the boy-bands and girl-bands I did find some interesting albums. There is no question that besides the over-produced manufactured fare there are some artists who are worth a listen. The one that I found most interesting was an album called Soul-Ri by a Korean artist Ali. Again searching was an issue. Searching anywhere for Ali is more likely to produce an image of a famous heavyweight champion of the world that a Korean pop star and even soul-ri produced nothing on any western music site.

Amazon - Nothing either in the US or the UK  (i'll admit to not venturing onto the Japanese site.

iTunes - again nothing.

U-Tube did provide a few links including this one of track one. Just vocal and Piano. The track that hooked me into listening to the rest of the album

So problem three. Where to but the album. As mentioned Amazon and iTunes drew a complete blank. I could find sites to download a copy but I'm opposed to that if it is at all possible to buy a copy. I then ventured onto Korean pop sites and placed an order at using paypal rather than my actual credit card. Just over a week later, my order still shows on the site as in-stock and not shipped which probably explains why I don't have it yet. I'll keep you posted, I'm really looking forward to playing the album again.

Meanwhile if you do want to but something from Amazon Check out this re-release of a version of Tommy by the London Symphony Orchestra and guests. Issued after the original by the Who and before the movie (and movie soundtrack) it was a double album with the amazing booklet and packaging that made some LP's of the time truly multi-media

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