Mesmerising debut from South Korea's Tonal Unity
New label focused on fusing timeless Asian sounds with contemporary international productions delivers blissful compilation EP.
We were taken aback in the most pleasant way when we first heard the promos of the forthcoming Tonal Unity record. We spend a lot of time digesting new music, which quite honestly can sometimes feel like a chore due to the high volume of little more than average music released weekly. When we hit on something special, however, our ears prick up and it feels like bright sunlight breaking through the heaviest of clouds. That was certainly the case with this record.
The Seoul based label promise ‘open-eared curation’, with home listening and dance-floor equally considered. The former is especially true for our picks from the EP, which we find deeply inspirational and almost meditative to take upon.
We’ll start by playing you the opening cut, El Búho’s ‘Nak-Yeop’. The founder of the Shika Shika collective has released on a number of organic down-beat labels, including Wonderwheel, Sol Selectas, Pingipung, and more. His track here uses the hypnotic sound of the traditional Korean gayageum instrument, weaving in subtly shuffling rhythms and textures as the track pulses and drives purposefully. Instantly recognisable and unique, we were instantly transfixed by it.
Next up we turn to the flip side with Kurup’s ‘Sanjo Escarlate’. Previously releasing on Drossel, AYA, and Shango, Kurup has performed at boundary-pushing festivals and venues like Voodoohop, Garbicz, and Kater Blau. Here we’re taken on a shamanic expedition, where harmonic rhythms and emotive textures sooth and pull us into a gentle trance. Time and space dissolve as the beautiful track meanders and flows.
All of the music on the release is worth listening to, and we’re looking forward to the next instalment already.
The EP is out now digitally, and the vinyl release is due later this month. You can check out and buy the release here