Thank you for returning to the blog to read our special K-SPOTLIGHT music feature on ‘In the endless zanhyang we are’ (who we will refer to as ‘IEZWA’ from here-on-in). We decided to do a track-by-track review of their latest EP, ‘Inevitability without consequence’, because we enjoyed it a lot! This album is such a cohesive and marvellous body of work that we recommend that you listen to it all!
Remember to go back and read our interview with ‘In the endless zanhyang we are’! We asked the members a lot of different questions!
Photo source and credit: © ONSTAGE
In the Endless Zanhyang We Are: The master storytellers
IEZWA are a group of 5 musicians: Dayoung (vocalist and keyboard player), Sunghoon (drummer), Geonseok (bassist), Wonwoo and Haram (guitarists). They do not like to confine their style into a particular genre, but some might describe it as post-rock or shoegaze. The notes played can range from being light and delicate to commanding and intense, but it all happens gradually and naturally.
Singer-songwriter Ahn Dayoung provides the vocals in their songs, and together with the other members craft a unique sound that fills the entire space that they perform in. A big part of this is achieved with the use and careful placement of reverb and delay effects with electric guitars, so that you can still distinguish the individual instrumental contribution by each guitarist member.
We call IEZWA, ‘the master storytellers’ because they combine their technical abilities with this amazing expression of life.
They use sound and their instruments so well to create detailed stories and pictures from their own experiences and communicate them to listeners through their masterful music.
The heart and enjoyment of music comes first
What struck us most whilst communicating with IEZWA was how sincere they were. Things in life can sometimes seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. IEZWA always take a simple approach when it comes to music-making, to always place their hearts and enjoyment first. It is very admirable that their overarching priority has always been to have fun as a team. We believe that it is this humble foundation that allows them to write interesting and beautiful songs. Having such a positive and open way of thinking gives the members limitless freedom, and we could very quickly tell that everyone interacts well with one another. It is a nice thing to witness an environment where the members feel comfortable enough to push each other to become better musicians.
IEZWA always take a simple approach when it comes to music-making, to always place their hearts and enjoyment first.
Everytime we watch an IEZWA live performance (albeit captured on video – we aren’t lucky enough to see them for real yet!), we always gain something different from it. Sometimes we relax with the music, other times we feel motivated or moved by the performance, and in other instances we are simply mesmerized by watching the members playing and through watching something beautiful being created.
That is why we recommend this group to our readers; we think that listening to their songs is definitely worthwhile!
Photo source and credit: © K-rookies. 06.02.2017. K-rookies official Facebook.
‘Inevitability under endless consequence’ album review
This song has its roots embedded in folk inspirations. The gentle strumming guitar and Dayoung’s heavenly vocals introduce this song. She sings comfortably but with a raw edge, producing a sound that seems like the most natural thing for her to do in this world. The melody is reminiscent of the advancing and receding of waves on the sandy shore for the first few minutes. Little by little, more and more instrumentals are added, the banging drumbeat, the crashing cymbals, building and building…and then it all fades.
This circular format of this song just works. There is an air of melancholy as Dayoung sings ‘the pain kills me completely, the pain goes inside me’ repeatedly, each word is striking and true. Suddenly, the guitar takes centre stage and from out of nowhere, this wonderful symphony of sound comes to life. This is what IEZWA do, create the most beautiful and heartfelt of songs, that ebb and flow like the water of life.
This is definitely one that we enjoyed, and a great opener for this album.
(Video credit: ONSTAGE 온스테이지 YouTube channel)
5:41 is one of our favourite IEZWA tracks because it blooms into something extraordinary when performed live. Deeply engaging, immersive and arresting, this music doesn’t feel like something you should listen to in the background. It is a song that you wish to devote yourself to entirely, because you could easily miss all the gloriously intricate details otherwise.
And so it goes
The sound of the piano provides the opener for ‘And so it goes’. The introduction is dreamlike and fluid. We didn’t think it was possible, but Dayoung’s vocals sound even more heightened here, she finds an angelic voice that reaches the heavens. ‘Behind the tears, the sun will come out’ she sings, those reassuring words that we need to hear on the hardest of days. Overall this track conveys a feeling of hope.
The instrumentals interject like the twinkling of stars. The electric guitars only gently breaking through and beautiful chord progressions underlying the whole piece. Dayoung hardly sings any words in the middle section, but she doesn’t need to. Pure emotion is what you feel when you listen to this powerful song. It is one of the best we’ve heard in a long time. Highly recommended, and one of our absolute favourites.
(Video credit: O JIC YouTube channel)
IEZWA have crafted almost cinematic-like songs, mini movies if you like, that snapshot short stories of emotions.
We didn’t know what to expect for a song titled this way and so we listened with an open mind. We imagined a sleepy morning in the wilderness, of waking in the forest surrounded by nature. This is one of the longer tracks from the group, clocking in at a total of 6 minutes and 4 seconds. There is one word that comes to mind that can be used to describe this song, and that word is…epic. When we were listening to this for the first time, we could only marvel in wonder at how each part fits together so well and how every addition is beautifying. Powerful vocals hit the listener right away…and so the dance begins. The song somehow has a sense of familiarity to it, that seems evocative of home. Right up to the end, when ambient sounds are introduced; where you hear what sounds like the clinking of metal (perhaps the jangling of keys), we can almost imagine a farmer getting up and preparing for chores in the early light of day, at a time where the first sunbeams hit the green grass. The gentle crackling and spluttering of a roaring fire sees the song to its conclusion.
(Video credit: 끝없는잔향속에서우리는 official YouTube channel)
There is one word that comes to mind that can be used to describe this song, and that word is…epic.
The next song is called ‘Interlude’ and is the longest song on the album, clocking in at 7 minutes and 50 seconds. We love how bold and committed the group were in making a song that doesn’t rush. Like that slow dance that they described to us, you listen to this one unfold gradually. It is certainly an interesting soundscape that they create, a mixture of heady instruments and what you might think is slightly discordant at first, like background noise from an otherworldly place. But suddenly the fractured fragments start to take their place and reach a semblance of clarity. It makes for a good metaphor, all these different elements coming together to form a whole piece. Dayoung sings in an almost tribal manner above the instrumentals, practically roaring in intensity in places. The intensity and energy increases in an unrelenting manner at times, where the instruments crash and clash.
We love how this song goes against convention; there are no words, there are no rules, there is only music. And it feels like that is how it should be.
(Video credit: bloom_ej YouTube channel)
‘Greensleeves’ was named as a favourite of some of the members (as revealed in our interview with them). A faster tempo and brighter sound is adopted, and a thudding drum binds the component parts together, with a shimmering piano melody repeating throughout. The lyrics are kept simple and there is a lighthanded touch that starts the track. The notes skip along easily and we can see why IEZWA like this!
Knocking introduces ‘Home’, and once again we were not sure what to expect. The guitar ripples along and together with an ambient rattling sound, set up the foundations. You are lulled into a sense of security with these sounds working in parallel.
The final song is ‘untitled’ and is a soft finale to the album. The melody from the guitar and simple rhythm of the drum lulls you into a sense of comfort. The smattering of cymbals serves to enhance this effect. The little bells are a splendid addition, like little bursts of fireworks. Everything goes up a gear soon after that, like a sky lit up with wonderous colour.
(Video credit: Highchedelic·하이코델릭 YouTube channel)
We wanted to finish with another IEZWA song titled ‘Till the night there’ after watching an online video of it being performed.
(Video credit: ONSTAGE 온스테이지 YouTube channel)
Whilst Dayoung is preparing herself in the moment, her eyes close and her hands clasp gently together against the backdrop of soft scattered lights and the song of the guitars. You just know that the next few minutes are going to be something very special. IEZWA aren’t scared to allow their music to ‘breathe’ and develop gradually. ‘Till the night there’ progresses from it’s solid grounding, building up in small steps.
The instruments culminate into a frenzy, into something almost otherworldly. That powerful sound feels like it could reach the innermost depths of space and time.
Photo source and credit: Kim Jin. 21.03.2017
When we finished listening to this album, our first thought was ‘we haven’t heard this type of sound before’. IEZWA make music that is worth investing your time in. This is a refreshing change to the fast-paced and hook-driven tracks that pepper much of the music industry. Instead, IEZWA have crafted almost cinematic-like songs, mini movies if you like, that snapshot short stories of emotions. Whether you enjoy folk, rock, or post-rock genres, you will find some of those influences weaved into IEZWA’s music.
Every time we finish a song by IEZWA, we are left with the long-lasting impression that they consistently create music that comes straight from the heart, wondrous music that is dynamic and free.
Much love to IEZWA for their humility and sincerity, we wish you well and hope you go far!
How to support In the Endless Zanhyang We Are
The best way to support IEZWA is to buy their music! You can do this via iTunes, Google Play, or Amazon. If new listeners would like to listen to tracks before purchasing, you can try Spotify, but please consider buying songs afterwards to support the members.
You can follow the team on their social media links:
Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/zanhyang_
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Intheendlesszanhyangweare/
Featured image source © Inevitability in consequence album cover. In the endless zanhyang we are. 21.03.2017. The image was provided directly by IEZWA for reproduction in this article.
In-article images source: Credit where indicated. Credit for each photograph is outlined as appropriate underneath each picture.
© ‘In the endless zanhyang we are music review’. Inspire Me Korea. 09.07.2017.
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