The third wave of Jambinai is here…. . Jimbania is a post rock South Korean folk music ensemble with post metal with female vocals, male vocals and an epic and dark atmospheric music.
«When the three founders of Jambinai decided to, communicate with the ordinary person who doesn’t listen to Korean traditional music, few outsiders anticipated an extra-ordinary fusion with metal, post-rock and noise. Most people expect Asian traditional music to make something smooth for yoga or meditation», says band spokesman Lee Il-Woo. «We wanted to break all of that». Now the band is about to release their new album Onda. The song Sawtooth, featuring Hwiseon Choi on yanggeum, a hammered dulcimer. Lee Il-Woo thinks the band’s constantly shifting dynamic, resembles the sawtooth waveform of electronic sound.
Even fewer would have predicted that the likes of Jambinai would play the 2018 Winter Olympic Games closing ceremony in the city of Pyeongchang, accompanied by a troupe of geomungo (Korean zither) players, an audio-visual spectacle that such an occasion demanded. Now comes ONDA, their spectacular new album on Bella Union. Lee Il-Woo sates, «The song Sun, Tears, Red is one way to describe Jambinai’s emotional as well as visceral impact, punctuated here by hollering, anguished voices. I saw a documentary about Korean independence against Japanese imperialism. I wanted to express the soldiers’ fear when they greet the rising sun, preparing to battle for freedom even though they knew they were going to die that day».
Lee Il-Woo states, «Onda means come in Korean. The title track has the lyric, At the end of your darkness, pain will turn into the shining stars and it’s going to come to you.’ I want to cheer people up when they hear that track. Onda also means wave in Spanish, and I also want to say the third big wave of Jambinai is coming»! The song Event Horizon was suggested by a Jambinai fan to represent the music’s, strength and chaos, though the haunting folk instrumentation is never swept aside by the energy on display.
The first big wave arrived in 2010 after traditional music students Lee Il-Woo (guitar and piri, a bamboo oboe), Kim Bo-Mi (the bow-stringed haegum) and Sim Eun-Young (geomungo) joined forces and released the Jambinai EP. The trio’s debut album Différance won Best Crossover Album at the 2013 Korean Music Awards, triggering several overseas tours and the second wave of Jambinai – an international deal with Bella Union and a second album, A Hermitage. At the time, Lee Il-Woo cited the influence of bands like Metallica, Mogwai and Sigur Ros, but such was the trio’s energy levels, they seemed to draw more on thunderstorms, tidal waves, volcanic eruptions, blizzards and desert winds, a force of nature more than a band.
«13 minutes long, In The Woods is the album’s lengthiest epic, originally recorded for Jambiani’s 2010 EP and now rearranged for the expanded quintet, plus guest traditional singer Bora Kim. The inspiration here is environmental pollution, soundtracked by eight minutes of mournful ambience that slowly builds to a shattering climax. The earth is in serious pain!», Lee Il-Woo concludes.