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K-Pop Double-Take: Lim Kim Proves That Less Is More On Her Latest Single 'Awoo' [VIDEO]

By Harper Willis | April 30, 2015 02:11 PM EDT


K-Pop Double Take is a weekly review column highlighting recent releases that have yet to receive the attention we feel they deserve.

Time and again, the most successful pop artists still seem to adhere to the tried-and-true maxim "less is more," when it comes to production.

Listen closely to your favorite pop songs and you may find that one or two simple ideas form the jumping-off point for the entire production.

The idea can be anything. From the spacey finger snaps in Lorde's "Royals," to the pumping (side-chained) synth-bass in Robyn's "Call Your Girlfriend," to the eighth-note stereo guitar part that permeates Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream."

In the wake of pop duo Togeworl's 2013 hiatus, member Lim Kim went to work crafting her solo career. Her recent single "Awoo," off of the EP "Simple Mind," released on April 21, is a fine example of the type of pop minimalism that the unique singer-songwriter has made her trademark.

"Awoo" is a case study in how a song can be crafted according the development of one simple idea.

The song begins with a one syllable vocal sample that plays a syncopated melody over a series of descending bass notes. It is a hook so simple, a kid could play it with two fingers. And it's just this simplicity and directness that makes it so effective.

The simpler the idea, the more easily the listener follow it's development throughout the song.

Notice how on the pre-choruses of "Awoo" this hook gets pushed into the background with the use of additional reverb, and the bass swells to fill in the space. This subtle variation creates a more fluid and open feeling that builds organically into the chorus.

On the chorus, the hook dissapears entirely. It's a very clever technique. Instead of just adding more layers to the chorus, the track lulls listeners into the false expectation that the hook will keep repeating, and then pulls the rug out from under them at the crucial moment.

After the second chorus, the bridge re-introduces the same vocal sample used in the hook, only the melody is simplified and the sample is pitch shifted down an octave. It helps add to the impression that the song has slowed down and chilled out.

Of course there are a lot of simple and tasteful arrangement and production choices that go into making "Awoo," stand out from the crowd. And it's impossible to ignore Lim Kim's intensely coy and compelling vocal performance. Even so, the hook stands at the center of it all, and holds the rest of the song in orbit.

If music is about defying expectations, Lim Kim has definitely succeeded on "Awoo."

Watch the music video for Lim Kim's latest single "Awoo" RIGHT HERE

Harper Willis is a Brooklyn, New York-based producer and engineer. He has a passion for recording bands in crazy places, like ski mountains, motorcycle garages and swimming pools. 

Tagged :  Lim Kim, awoo, simple mind, Togeworl, K-Pop Double-Take


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