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2013​-​2021 Seoul

by Pal Hwang Dan

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Darwin
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Darwin Wow I’m flashing around escaping shopping malls and tall buildings. All I need is my sunglasses and Pal Hwang Dan in my ears.
Favorite track: Jungchon Alpine Club.
Dakota Higgins
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Dakota Higgins Don’t need to speak Korean to have this album speak to you. Incredibly beautiful and varied. A real accomplishment. Favorite track: Photo.
grem1
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grem1 트랙들이 '이 노래를 들으면 이 곡도 생각나는데'처럼 이어져 있어서 앨범을 통으로 들을때 시너지가 있음. 파블로프의 개처럼 떠오르는 멜론빵 먹는 팔보채 선생님. Favorite track: If.
Saenal Jung
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Saenal Jung 로봇화가 진행된 팔보채의 보컬은 트랜스휴머니즘이라는 화두를 우리에게 던진다. 5/5 Favorite track: 13 Years.
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  • Pal Hwang Dan - Seoul 2013-2021 - Limited Edition Cassette + DL
    Cassette + Digital Album

    Artist: Pal Hwang Dan
    Album: 2013-2021 Seoul
    Format: Digital / Tape
    Cat.No: CHI036
    Master: Pal Hwang Dan
    Artwork: Saphy Vong
    Release Date: 19 November 2021

    Includes unlimited streaming of 2013-2021 Seoul via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

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1.
Usadan-ro 03:52
2.
13 Years 04:42
3.
4.
Eschatology 03:58
5.
Insect 03:27
6.
If 04:19
7.
Dongjak 04:48
8.
Falling 03:46
9.
Gapo 03:37
10.
11.
19800 Won 05:42
12.
13.
Photo 03:27
14.
Far Away 03:48
15.
Tail Wing 03:35
16.

about

Artist: Pal Hwang Dan
Album: 2013-2021 Seoul
Format: Digital / Tape
Cat.No: CHI036
Master: Pal Hwang Dan
Artwork: Saphy Vong
Release Date: 19 November 2021

Pop iconoclast Pal Hwang Dan returns for his third release on Chinabot, 2013-2021 Seoul. Through solid-gold synth-pop hooks and his deadpan, romantic vocal delivery, he paints a picture of life in modern-day Seoul filled with yearning, loneliness, absurdity and rampant consumerism.

It’s not just watertight song-writing which makes 2013-2021 Seoul is his most clear-eyed release yet. His vision is immediately clear in opening track Usadan-ro (우사단로), an irresistible slice of off-kilter hypnagogic pop. The accompanying music video shows Pal Hwang Dan dancing around his crappy, tiny Seoul apartment, playing like a child and eating maggots on avocado toast.

“There was no sunlight outside the window, only saw the Che Agency sign,” he sings over the propulsive, bittersweet melody. “The phone was dead, woke up, not knowing the time.” A defiant assertion of energy within the empty isolation of city life, Pal Hwang Dan shows his iconoclastic charisma as a modern Korean pop performer with a vision more in line with Parasite (2019) than K-Pop’s high glitz.

Alienation and consumerism are recurring themes in 2013-2021 Seoul. 19800 Won (19800원) is a melancholy, spoken-word and harmonica track reminiscent of early Dean Blunt. Named after a t-shirt he designed and sold for 19,800 Korean Won, the music video is positioned as a t-shirt advert shot through a surreal vapourwave lens. In a black suit, Pal Hwang Dan performs his song karaoke-style behind an ever-increasing frenzy of graphics in an advert gone horrible wrong.

He nonetheless retains a romantic wistfulness, his childlike, hooky melodies and soft vocals suggesting a wistful optimism. The video for Far Away (멀리있어) sees Pal Hwang Dan waiting on a beach to have a picnic, sketching the sea and holding a rose. His lover never comes, however - instead, we see naively hand-drawn adverts, ratings and prices for the picnic items, like Coca-Cola and Kleenex, a nod to the Korean obsession of rating consumer products. Far Away (멀리있어) has a savagely playful romanticism and cynicism reminiscent of Serge Gainsbourg.

Despite his strong pop sensibility, he never abandons a deeper sense of avant-guard strangeness. Jungchon Alpine Club 중촌 산악회 is about the Japanese nationalist writer Yukio Mishima who committed seppuku in 1970 after a failed coup, someone Pal Hwang Dan describes as “foolish but interesting”. His frantic, pitched repetitive vocals contrast with the dark experimental country underneath, creating a sense of creeping unease.

“I grew up in Anyang City,” says Pal Hwang Dan. “After I became an adult, I lived in Seoul for a long time. But Seoul has always felt foreign to me.” 2013-2021 Seoul is such a powerful depiction of disjointed urban life it is immediately recognisable to city-dwellers everywhere. A bold evolution of craft and vision, it cements Pal Hwang Dan as one of the most unique voices in pop music today.

“Pal Hwang Dan gleefully combines 1980s synths, video game music and crisp, melancholic synthpop into a sound as shiny and metallic as a Technicolour mecha battle royale” – The Wire

“Emanates an alluring darkness — like, somewhere, there is a disco apocalypse waiting for us… If that's what we're headed for, then sign me up” – The Fader

'Following two releases on Chinabot, the label welcome Korean artist Pal Hwang Dan back for his third: an LP titled ‘2013-2021 Seoul’. His work sits at the intersection between pop and avant-garde, laced with his deadpan, new romantic-esque vocals which touch on a plethora of subjects. Exploring what modern-day Seoul means to him, the LP ruminates on alienation, consumerism, loneliness and absurdity, characterised by his experimental and singular take on pop music." – The Ransom Note

About the artist
Pal Hwang Dan, real name Pal Boche, is a musician living in Seoul, where he moved in 2013. He is inspired by industrial, K-pop and animation. He works as a composer for advertising and video game soundtracks. His first album with Chinabot, Saneopseonjip, was released in 2018, followed by A Length of Line in 2020.

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released November 19, 2021

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