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Korean Classics: Kim Jung Mi Blends Styles And Sounds To Create Her 1973 Masterpiece 'Now' [AUDIO]

By Colin Langenus | April 25, 2014 01:48 PM EDT


South Korean singer Kim Jung Mi is best known for her frequent collaborations with prolific and legendary songwriter and guitarist Shin Joong Hyun in the 1970s.

By the time Kim's third album "Now" was released in 1973, she really "had her thing figured out," to speak in the parlance of the times.

"Now" is a concept record. Many of the song titles have nature themes and the music contains a consistent, comfortable vibe which makes the record a pleasurable listening experience.

"Now" opens with the beautiful "Haenim." It is a lush-sounding track with strings, a choir and a great groove. But what is featured most, is Kim's chill and easy vocals. They're really captivating.

The record also has some rocking songs too. The song "Wind" is an example of classic mellow psych rock. Kim's vocals are drenched in reverb. It's otherworldly but welcoming.

But I love the beautiful mellow ones the most.

"Spring" is a nice bossa Nova groove with a nylon string guitar, killer rhythm section and, again, a string section. I could loop this song all day.

The production on "Now" is top-notch. It's lush and polished while still retaining the sound of being recorded on the fly.

These are beautiful songs! And Shin, such a ubiquitous force in Korean pop music of the time period, is such an original guitar player.

"Blow Spring Breeze" breezes in sounding like The Velvet Underground.

It's essentially a simple rock and roll ditty, but like a million other simple rock and roll dittys, it's transcendent!

There are a bunch of different styles on Kim's "Now" album. It keeps it sounding interesting all of the way through.

"Your Dream" is a slow jammer featuring double-tracked, out of tune guitars. I love that trick!

"The listener will never know that the first guitar is out of tune if we put another guitar in tune on top," the producers may have thought.

I hear it and I love it! Guitar tuners should be outlawed!

It's another tune on "Now" that could go on forever for me. I love you Kim Jung Mi!

Kim brings the funk on "Beautiful Rivers and Mountains". Which, aside from the out of tune bass, is another excellent song. "It's Raining" features stomping drums and bass with more of Shin's brilliant guitar.

"Now" ends with a bang on the song "Ganadaramaba."

What a classic feel-good song! I wish it wouldn't end. Time to flip the record over and play it again.

Check out the seminal 1973 Kim Jung Mi album "Now" RIGHT HERE

Colin Langenus is a guitarist and songwriter in several groups including Colin L. Orchestra, CSC Funk Band, and Usaisamonster. He also produces and engineers at his recording studio in Brooklyn.

Tagged :  Kim Jung Mi, Now, shin joong-hyun, Korean Classics


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