Organ Thing of The Day: A first taste of Okkyung Lee’s rather refreshing new album. ‘Yeo-Neun’ is to be released on May 8th via Shelter Press, do like the way this one peice from the album that’s been posted already quietly creaks, yjr way it tip=toes on the floorboards, the way it slowly breathes without you really noticing – “Springing from a body of work spanning decades, defined by a rigorously singular and adventurous approach to sound, cellist, composer, and improviser Okkyung Lee returns with ‘Yeo-Neun’. This is Lee’s first outing with Shelter Press, and arguably her most ground breaking and unexpected album to date”. This first taste is beautifully peaceful, beautifully warm, understated, the space between each delicate sound so considered. More details via the Bandcamp page
Here’s the press release
“A vital force in the contemporary global landscape of experimental music, Okkyung Lee is widely regarded for her solo and collaborative improvisations and compositions, weaving a continuously evolving network of sonority and event, notable for its profound depth of instrumental sensitivity, exacting intellect, and visceral emotiveness. ‘Yeo-Neun’, recorded by Yeo-Neun Quartet – an experimental chamber music ensemble founded in 2106 and led by Lee on cello, featuring harpist Maeve Gilchrist, pianist Jacob Sacks, and bassist Eivynd Opsvik – represents the culmination of one of longest and most intimate arcs in her remarkable career. A radical departure from much of the experimental language for which she has become widely known, it is equally a fearless return.
‘Yeo-Neun’ loosely translates to the gesture of an opening in Korean, presenting a window into the poetic multiplicity that rests at the album’s core. Balanced at the outer reaches of Lee’s radically forward thinking creative process, its 10 discrete works are born of the ambient displacement of the musician’s life; intimate melodic constructions and deconstructions that trace their roots across the last 30 years, from her early days spent away from home studying the cello in Seoul and Boston, to her subsequent move to New York, and the nomadism of a near endless routine of tours. At its foundation lay glimpses of a once melancholic teen, traces of the sentimentality and sensitivity (감성 / Gahmsung) that underpins the Korean popular music of Lee’s youth, and an artist for whom the notions of time, place and home have become increasingly complex.
Elegantly binding modern classical composition and freely improvised music with the emotive drama of Korean traditional music and popular ballads, the expanse of ‘Yeo-Neun’ pushes toward the palpably unknown, as radical for what it is and does, as it for its approachability. In Lee’s hands, carried by a body of composition that rests beyond the prescriptive boundaries of culture, genre, geography, and time, a vision of the experimental avant-garde emerges as a music of experience, humanity, and life. Meandering melodies – from the deceptively simple to the tonally and structurally complex – slowly evolve and fall from view, with the harp, piano, and bass forming an airy, liminal non-place, through which Lee’s cello and unplaceable memories freely drift.
Remarkably honest, unflinchingly beautiful, and creatively challenging, Shelter Press is proud to present ‘Yeo-Neun’, an album that takes one the most important voices in contemporary experimental music, Okkyung Lee, far afield into an unknown future, bound to her past”