K-Pop Beyond The Charts is a weekly review column highlighting Korea's modern day musical innovators who have yet to find mainstream success.
It is nearly impossible to describe exactly what is happening on the song 'Comfuture' featuring rapper PNSB from South Korean experimental hip-hop act PingnPong's new self-titled (though slightly reformatted) album "Ping N Pong," released on Monday.
From PNSB's near trancelike state on the mic to a rhythm that splits open in ways more minimalist than even rap usually gets, to the ending sample of a Windows XP operating system shutting down, "Comfuture" is unlike any other track I've heard before.
And though all of the PingnPong's new release is solid and telling of an exploding Korean underground hip-hop scene that continues to push the boundaries of the genre, it is the intricate layers of inventive production on "Comfuture" that make it the album's standout track.
In South Korea, where songs with an acoustic guitar as the only drum-less accompaniment are often labeled hip-hop, the rules are not as strict on what makes a rap song as they are in the West. But where PingnPong resoundingly succeed here is by using a pastiche of hip-hop flavors without ever committing to any one pre-established discipline.
They also separate themselves from former attempts at such a postmodern approach by maintaining the composure of a veteran pop producer--the sounds never get overly cacophonous or irritating.
As Radiohead's Thom Yorke once sang, "everything in its right place."
Whichever place you lay your hat, whether it's on a beach blanket or a glacier, "Comfuture" is a cool, breath of fresh air.
Watch the mind-bending new music video for the song "Comfuture" featuring PNSB from South Korean hip-hop act PingnPong's new album "Ping N Pong" RIGHT HERE