Sea Ra Bul Rec. Kim Doo Soo: The road of Shiori / A cuckoo (S-KO,1986)**°°’
airplayed in first show : Tr.5, "A journey" 6 min, Tr.9, "Jung A's Rose" 5 min 11
Radioshow comments : "Some of the songs on this album, like on all of his albums are a bit mellow. One track is with brass arrangement. These two chosen tracks for the radioshow are very beautiful and pastoral folk guitar singer-songwriter style. A few more tracks on this album are somewhat similar."
Track titles : 1. The dream of little bird, 2. A cuckoo, 3. Post card, 4. The road of Shiori, 5. A journey 6. Aheeya Doong-Ki, Doong-Ki, 7. Flower grassland-Mother's grave (The road of shiori 2), 8. The lovestory in the rainy day, 9. Jung-A 's Rose, 10. Little boat and blue bird, 11. Can't make be love.
Yejeon Media Music Kim Doo Soo : A long way (KO,1986,re.2011)***°°
airplayed in second show : Tr.5, 6 min, tr.9, 5 min
The first album of Kim Doo Soo has been reissued now. I liked his voice better on the earliest albums, because he softened this a bit on the last two releases especially. Several tracks are a bit arranged, subtly, with some backing female vocalist or some coconut rhythms for instant. All tracks are good but a few really stand out better, like classics, with some pickings ideas and melancholy that reminds one just a bit of early Leonard Cohen (track 5 especially ; this also has a bit of slide guitar to the acoustic pickings and voice). Worth tracing.
Sea Ra Bul Rec. Kim Doo Soo: 2 The promised land (S-KO,1988)**°°'
Rhythm OnKim Doo Soo: 2 The promised land (S-KO,1988,re.2012)**°°'
airplayed : Tr.7, "My soul is just a flower on the road" 6 min, Tr.8, "Twilight Part 1,2" 7 min 11
Radioshow comments : "First chosen track is a very beautiful song with acoustic guitar and female backing vocals. This particular track sounds a bit like Leonard’s Cohen “Song from a Room”."
Track titles : 1. The promosed land, 2. Hey Butterfly, 3. Round back, 4. The green frog Su-Hee, 5. The flower grassland; Mother's grave -the road of Shiori 2, 6. A little bird on church spire, 7. My soul is just a flower on the road, 8. Twilight Part 1,2, 9. A song of mystic
Sea Ra Bul Rec. Kim Doo Soo: 3 A bohemian (S-KO,1991)**°°’
Music ResearchKim Doo Soo: 3 A bohemian (S-KO,1991,re.2013)**°°’
airplayed : Tr.4, "The sun shines on the water (Ad lib for meditation)" 6 min, Tr.6, "At the distance" 5 min
Tr.7, "The sceret of green barley field" 11 min, Tr.8, "The shade of a tree" 4 min 26 -50
Radioshow comments : "Especially the complete B-side of this album is really beautiful folk singer-songwriting with international alure / flavour. Last track has a second slide guitar arrangement. (The Hyundai Records version is a mini-LP CD reissue from 2004)."
Track list : 1. A bohemian, 2. The people in the riverside village, 3. Free of my hearts, 4. The sun shines on the water(Ad lib for meditation), 5. The river, 6. At the distance, 7. The sceret of green barley field, 8. The shade of a tree
Radioshow comments : "A mostly very good acid-folk singer-songwriter album, with beautiful singing, more often with layers of acoustic guitar. Here he found even more his own style into simple and strong expressions. Some tracks are really unique. Also the bonus tracks are in his unique and delicate guitar and voice style with some sparse touches of other arrangements."
Mr.Kwang : "Kim Doo Soo is Korean Folk (Modern one) musician, who was only famous in deep underground scene. But in recent years, his 4th. album [Free Spirit] gained high expectation, and became more & more famous. His vocal & music style are very unique, not comparable to any other Folk Music. Highly recommendable for Modern Folk fans, and who wants to listen to real good Korean music."
Track list : 1. Wild Flower, 2. Boat to the Edge, 3. Butterfly, 4. Wild Rose, 5. Bohemian, 6. Rain at Dawn, 7. Blues of 19th. street, 8. Mountain, 9. As time goes by, 10. Romantic Horizon, 11. Abstraction, 12. Evening River, 13. Wandering, 14. Dandelion
I’m glad to see Kim Doo Soo finally is making it outside South-Korea, also as one of the first new artists. His latest album, the first in 5 years, just recently was released in Japan, on double LP and on CD.
Like the Korean tradition says that all circumstances can be expressed by nature, this is a way of being careful with temporal conditions, as well as making a person aware of wider contexts, being able to transcend all, in a poetic way, which I never see some other cultures succeed in doing like they do, and like Kim Doo Soo is such a great example to carry this to the world, even when his songs here do not leave out the personal contexts. His song poems are translated into Japanese, but also in English, by Joseph Kelly.
At first hearing on one occasion I thought the vocals were mixed very softly as if somewhat adapted by the resonating body of the guitar, but that wasn’t on the best installation. Kim Doo Soo’s almost whispery singing surely is soft and warm like this wooden guitar body. It is also as if we hear subtle, a few times bluesy, warm breezes being played on guitar, with some of the string and guitar arrangements. “Cape Jasmine” has a more eastern flavour in it. All other additional arrangements comforts this “breeze”.
Kim Doo Soo sings and plays acoustic guitar, harmonica, Kim Kwang Seok plays electric guitar and acoustic guitar solo, Ha Reem plays bandoneon and percussion, Kim Hyo Kukplays synthesizer, Lee Heyon Su plays cello, Um Tae Won : trumpet and Ji Sung Chul : piano.
Polyphone Rec.Kim Doo Soo: The Evening River (SK,2009)****
This seems like a fantastic collection of songs, sparsely arranged, and with Kim Doo Soo’s voice with a subtle depth, and sparse overdubs. I’m still a bit uncertain if this is a compilation of earlier published tracks with some new ones, or with completely new versions of the songs (which I think is the case, making a strong consistency in mood). The guitar playing and voice are very effective, even when not understanding a word of the lyrics. An over 70 minutes album. Recommended !
Various tracks from Kim Doo Soo can be heard on the following compilation together with Fikret Kizilok, Tomakawa Kazuki and Kan Mikami. There's a biography on Kim Doo Soo and various of the moving texts are translated :
20-20-20 V.A.: International Sad Hits
-volume one: Altaic Language Group- (TÜ/S-KO/JAP,pub.2006)****°
Whilst the duo Damon & Naomi released their debut in 1992 titled "More Sad Hits", it only relates to the CD as they are the compilers of this "international" album.
Those who love music in the way I do, (so not as a way for background to direct socializing), for the love of the music itself, and for the creativity and potentional of human heartfelt expressions), it is easy to relate this to melancholic songs and to sense the beauty in them.
This compilation is done with much love and care and a deeper interest in such songs, also with the story behind the person. Like with the Sachiko Kanenobu reissue (reviewed here around the same time), the booklet gives us a presentation of the textual qualities, and also gives us an idea of moving hearts behind the artists themselves, more than as with just dry biographical facts.
Secondly, I think it is a very beautiful and caring idea to bring a Turkish artist (Fikret Kizilok), a Korean artist (Kim Doo Soo) and two Japanese artists together, and show how all their expressions can be felt equally from the heart, with the same sense of expressing the language like poetic music, even in such a way the emphasis on singing is not different for the Turkish, Korean and Japanese artist.
The characters are also not just ANY artist. Fikret Kizilok might be the most important and gifted independent folk artist from Turkey from the last 40 years or so, while I can also say the same for Kim Doo Soo. They also prove honest integrity is not just a quality of the early seventies. For Japan it is also no doubt that Kan Mikami's entrance in the Japanese folk scene was one of the most distinctive (they didn't mention his incredible appearance with the Tenjyo Sajiki group, although his film appearance was mentioned).
Personally I like very much Fikret Kizilok's first poetry/surreal music album (which is mentioned), and I like Kan Mikami's early work more as well. The compilers preferred to respect their re-appearances to the new scene. These are more directly word and song-focused, and fit in fact very well in a compilation together.
I had a few albums from Tomokawa Kazuki before as well but found him rather esoteric. This compilation gives a much better and easier first access to his work.
I cannot recommend this album enough. I always liked a lot Kim Doo Soo and Fikret Kizilok and also was very much aware of Kan Mikami's true potential. And what can be a better introduction that this compilation ? The biographical presentation, the song texts, the way the songs fit together and all are just too perfect to miss. I can say a lot more on this, but it's up to the listener to discover the details by just buying the album, or by listening to a few introduction audio files on the net.
PS. Kim Doo Soo's two latest albums seem to be available outside Korea here and there on the net. Just buy them next.
Rhythm On Rec. Kim Doo Soo : Dance Of Hunchback (SK,2015)****
There are translations included of the songs in Korean, which have poetic lyrics with a rather metaphysical impact. They are all about finding oneself in a place that shows an overcoming of reality, left without temporal desires. In “Pinwheel” it describes this moment as finding something like a fixed place amongst stars without the idea of all its spinning motions. “Sunset” describes it as that place of silence, where all other things wander around and pass such encompassing moments. “Falling Blossom” reminds me of the picking petals from a flower, with the desire to choose and to obtain results with a yes or no answer, in full expectancy, while the flower itself simply becomes and then ends its existence and let go its leaves as easily as it had grown before into its being. “River Crossing” refers to returning life, the crossing the bridges from one life to another. “Song of Time” emphasizes the fact that life not really makes it’s own life, as expected, but is dependent on circumstances (like the wind), while a person himself balances between dreaming or being himself. In “The Land of No Wind” it focuses on our wishes that the wind soon would turn or things return, in the remains of potentials that have been left. The “Dance of Hunchback”, which is the title track, one tries to dance more indifferently with those heavy reality of circumstances, just like a Joker, while remaining to deal with the full burden of life, and with the acceptance of those parts and aspects. “Leaden” shows how seen from the spiritual world, our life remains heavy as lead, in which it can hardly show its own aspects. “Nightfall Comes” is a recognisable poetic transcendent expression of allowing darkness to come in full peace. “Stranger” is the image of a person who does not succeed in belonging much to a place in which there exists but little connection.
Most songs are either accompanied basically by guitar picking, sometimes guitar rhythms, Kim Doo Soo’s voice show the qualities of a whispery warm soft voice, with here and there a low vibrato, allowing often space in the singings, so that the song can breath with its instrumental part and mood. The great thing about this album is that there has been taken great care in extra arrangements. Just a few times the singing gets the arrangement treatment of dual voice arrangements. There are texturing effects of accordion or mouth harmonica and further on cello as harmonic arrangements, and several solo improvisations of violin, trumpet or flute. A few times and very subtly strings are almost brushed in, or plucked arrangements appear in between the pickings (on “River Crossing”). The amount is kept minimal, so when the most powerful songs are kept rather naked, other songs get a bit more of a chamber folk arrangement, but never from it’s starting point. The mood is kept deep and quiet. But there are also more melodically sweet songs despite the lyrics (“Nightfall comes”), seeing the sweetness in dark edges. The longest, over 11 minute track shows several openings and sections in the pickings, more arrangements, still it doesn’t feel very long. Very welcome is the bonus track of “House of the Rising Sun” hearing Kim Doo Soo interpret this song in his style, and giving us an opportunity to tune in to his expressions further. The production makes this album an improvement to its predecessor. Recommended.