Hakchon/YBM/Seoul Rec. Kim Min Gi : ...That Beautiful One Is a Human Being.. (KO,1971-1987,2004)****°
eventual airplay : CD1: 1,(3),4,5,9 ; CD2:1-2,4,12-13 ; CD4 : 1,4,5,6,8 ; CD5:(2)3,9-10 ; CD6: (1),3
second check: CD1 1,4,5,9 ; CD2 1,2,4,13 ; CD3: 4,5,6,9 ; CD4 1,2,4,5,6,8 ; CD5 : 3,4 ; CD6 : 10
All the works of Kim Min-Gi were compiled onto this beautifully crafted heavy LP-sized box with 3D imprints on special paper, containing two booklets with Korean info and lyrics, both in unusual formats (LP-format and a long sleeve insert). The box alone is impressive, but the music is also worth checking out. When the singer released an album in 1971, mostly guitar and voice only with sparse arrangements, his words were so powerful, the Park Chung-Gee regime took his album from the market and destroyed what was left. Although his words were metaphorical and highly poetic, a kind of writing that wouldn’t even be understood here in the West, in Korea they were as clear as statements. He continued to write for others like Yang Hee-Eun, The song “Morning Dew” however could not even be covered any more. It became a symbol of awareness of the oppression and predated the steps towards a renewed system of democracy. Another song, called “Morning Dew”, was about two fishes in a pond. When one fish died it spoiled the pond, an allegory for the split country. This song became popular in North Korea revealing a secret inner wish for change, it took a while before the government understood the impact, until they also banned it there in 1998. For Kim Min Gi it took also until 1993 (!) until he could release his work again. Almost having given up music, having worked on a farm for a while, Kim Min Gi from then on started to cooperate heavily with theatre, creating several sorts of musicals, some music appeared in some movies too.
Several CD’s reveal the songwriter with guitar and sparse arrangements, with a deep warm and penetrating voice. Elsewhere are the references to the musicals, often sung by children, with beautiful vocal harmonies and sensibilities, also with here and there a Korean folk reference that is worth taking out. A few tracks are played with keyboards.
I assume that the first CD (of 10 tracks) contains the early LP. This is the first songwriting album. Here and there are sensible rhythms, I also heard piano, flute arrangement and sparse chamber arrangements. The second CD is led by a child’s voice, spoken word and singing, accompanied by synthesizer and organ, flutes, child choir and acoustic pickings. Some fragments really show themselves as if a movie is happening; I assume this could be the soundtrack of a movie too. Then we hear the family talking together and singing together. I loved the track with mother and daughter, with streaming water in the background and some beautiful parts of vocal harmony driven singing. The next two CD’s are voice and guitar mostly, with some very crafty fingerpickings here and there, and some duet guitars. The last, probably bonus track on it I think must come from his German spoken (!) musical. Also this track shows talent to arrange vocal harmonies. The fourth CD continues in the songwriting vein. Here’s also use of mouth harmonica a few times. I very much loved the fourth song that has a Korean folk sensibility. Further on there’s some use of harmony voices, a bit of keyboards and female voice too. The fifth CD continues with more acoustic songs, other instruments for the arrangements appear as well. The last two tracks must have come from one of his other musical projects. They sound pretty unique, because they mix the Korean folk percussion and folk harmony and singing styles with modern singer/songwriting, the vocal harmonies again brilliantly arranged. The second track I think comes from a real 'pans’ori' traditional, sung by female voice with great emotion and tension. Also the last CD contains more tracks with children led musical concepts of arrangements, and some keyboard instrumental.
There’s much to experience on this album, and the songs themselves and Kim Min Gi’s voice remains extremely attractive also for a foreigner it takes no effort at all to listen, you get easily hooked onto it and keep on listening. Kim Min Gi’s is amongst the most rewarding acoustic song voices. The box isn’t really too expensive, so very recommended.
Discography : Kim Min'Gi (1971), My Daddy's Pretty Face (1987), Mommy, My Mommy (1988),
Kim Min-Gi 1,2,3,4 (1992/1993)
and also :
Factory Lights: Musical Original Soundtrack [OST] (1978)
Gaettong'i: Musical Original Soundtrack [OST] (1987)
Daddy's Face is Pretty: Musical Original Soundtrack [OST] (1987)
Kim Min-Gi, with Symphony Orchestra of Russia (2003)
Factory Lights (2004)