Korean indie pop producer Aseul has been releasing music under various monikers since 2012. Brandishing her mastery of melody and her dream pop influences on her sleeve, Aseul has crafted a listening experience that is simultaneously chilled-out and compelling for those with an ear for production.
The instrumentals on Slow Dance are lush, tapestried affairs, blending miasmic pads with more immediate crystalline synth lines. Obscured behind layers of reverb, these sounds create a dense, sweet cocoon like a modern take on Phil Spector’s intricate “wall of sound” production technique, which went on to influence Motown and the Beach Boys.
Over her well sculpted instrumentals, Aseul lays down emotive, breathy vocal lines – which fall on a spectrum from meditative to mournful. While I am not in a position to comment on lyrical content, having about as firm a grasp of Korean as someone who has no grasp of Korean, Aseul’s singing functions well as ornamentation, and is arguably intended as such. This is particularly evident on ‘Somewhere’, where vocal harmonies build through the track, but only break the lush instrumental’s surface in the track’s closing moments chanting the track’s title.
Drums are a slight shortcoming on Slow Dance, entirely synthesised but evidently lacking the careful attention other instruments received, their simplicity and repetitiveness can feel slightly jarring on tracks like ‘Paradise’. An exception here is ‘2 Weeks’, a personal favourite, where thick synth bass intertwines with a laid-back drum line, creating a groove reminiscent of a turn of the millennium neo-soul track.
Slow Dance is a short, rich record, with synth arrangements built like the gordian knot. The perfect evening indulgence, Aseul delivers plenty of “dream” and the perfect amount of “pop”.
Guedra Guedra is a Moroccan producer whose debut EP Son of Sun is in a world of its own. Layering eclectic samples from the globe’s far reaches with the pounding bass, intricate snares and hats characteristic of modern dance music, the On the Corner signee creates a sound which is unique, fascinating and irrepressibly danceable.
While its impactful grooves place it well within the bounds of house music at points, the colourful world music samples behind tracks like the propulsive percussion in ‘Anlo Kinka’ allow it to reach textural and emotional places your average house banger wouldn’t dare to conceive of. The breadth of these sounds, and their refreshingly organic nature, allows Guedra Guedra to skilfully inject variation and spacing between his frankly filthy rhythms. This is what makes Son of Sun the most exciting piece of electronic music I have heard this year. The constellations of sounds throughout the record, many of which are unlike anything I’ve ever heard, invoke gleeful smiles upon each listen.
The shimmering waterfalls of percussion found on closer ‘Aït Crossing’, and the subtle sounds of conversation layered beneath are a stellar example of this, creating a uniquely compelling listening experience.
The EP’s colourful, abstract cover encapsulates this record’s sound so effectively I invoke it as a litmus test for readers, if you are fascinated, excited or perhaps a little scared by that expressively obscured face, you will most likely be thrilled and fascinated by the unique textures Son of Sun contains.