In our new series, 'Native Picks,' we unearth 7 tracks from one country and spotlight rising artists spearheading their local music scene.
Diving right in, our first pick is next door neighbor, South Korea. Known for it's huge success in the music industry worldwide, South Korea's musical prowess has proven itself to be one of the front runners of contemporary music.
While mainstream music has it's larger influence over society in general, underground music is equally important to the birth of new talent and music. And with unfettered access to the web, especially as South Korea tops high in fastest internet connection, artists and producers we've never heard of are beginning to gain traction from listeners online who seek more authentic, mold-breaking tunes.
Although it was challenging to pick 7 tracks for this article, I got to listen to so many talented artists online that it made me realize something: South Korea is abundant with wonderful music and creativity.
So here's my 7 top picks, in no specific order, by South Korean artists on Soundcloud from 2016:
1. B R L L N T - Onetwostep
Out of all the bootlegs, edits, and remixes of Ciara's '1, 2 step' out there, B R L L N T does justice to this classic R&B song. Being a core member of Pute Deluxe, a lifestyle collective based in Seoul, B R L L N T has released countless bangers, with his sonically captive R&B/soul inspired chords, spine-tingling bells, and Soulection-esque vibe which gets you head-bobbing from start to finish. His brilliance shines through with every release.
Free download of B R L L N T's remix is available here.
2. MISO - Take Me
MISO's Red Bull premiered single, 'Take Me,' is strong with the R&B/Soul game. The lush synths and the sweet, open percussions blends together to create a tasteful song. Taking influence from Jazz musicians to contemporary R&B artists like Kehlani, the young producer is continuing to push musical boundaries.
Watch MISO's interview presented by Red Bull Korea here.
3. OLNL(오르내림) - GOLD (Feat. LILMONEY) [prod. by Minit]
Spearheading the Future Bass scene, Minit, who entered the remix contest for Boombox Cartel & Quix's track 'Supernatural' last year, collaborated with upcoming Korean rapper LILMONEY and R&B singer OLNL on a beautifully crafted track called 'GOLD.' It's wide enveloping synths, anthem worthy vocals, and catchy arrangement makes this song a goldmine.
4. Deepshower - Wavy feat. Rick Bridges
Supporting huge acts like HONNE, Tennyson, Cherokee and more, Deepshower has his hands deep in the house music scene in Korea. His release with Rick Bridges on 'Wavy' is based on a classic house beat, something that reminds me of Kaskade's earlier days, but still retains a modern flair. Rick Bridges' rap adds another layer of goodness which makes the track come alive. Keep your eyes and ears peeled on Deepshower this year.
5. Usher - No Limit (y u n j i Remix)
I featured y u n j i's remix 'No Limit' on Digital Diggin' // Vol 4 and still can't stop listening to it. Y u n j i gracefully meshes R&B with Future Bass inspired synths and Lido-esque sound designs. She's definitely on the right path to achieve great heights.
y u n j i's remix is available as a free download here.
6. DEAN - Put My Hands On You ft. Anderson .Paak (prod. by ESTA & Mr. Carmack)
DEAN is a man who needs no introduction. Having a unique style, he's beenbreaking the ranks since last year. Although this is just a preview of 'Put My Hands On You' with Grammy awarded artist, Anderson .Paak, it's sonically beautiful and incredibly exuberant. Hands down one of the most irresistible songs of 2016. If you want to watch and listen to the full track, click here.
7. IMLAY - Zanzan
Known to spur a new subgenre called Abstract Bass, IMLAY's 'Zanzan' is sonically unique in it's own right. Taken from his Origin EP, the track lures you into a trance with it's xylophone-esque chords and strangely addictive flute arp. Seriously consider IMLAY on your radar because he'll be charging with full force this year to create awesome music. I mean, check his intro of '24K Magic' by Bruno Mars. Can't deny that his soul game is top-notch.
Grab IMLAY's 'Zanzan' for free here.
Hope you guys enjoyed the tracks above! Show your support by following/liking their music. Thanks for reading! Until next time.