|Aseul / Image by Baek Joonahn|
This is the fifth article in a series on Zandari Festa 2018, held Oct. 4 to 7.
By Anastasia Traynin
Following three days with the energy of loud guitars, a chill electronic performance is perfect. Solo artist Aseul performed in the dimly lit basement cave venue of Convent, early evening on Sunday, Oct. 7.
Originally performing under the name Yukari, she debuted in 2012 and has been gradually building her electro-pop sound, inspired by the likes of Grimes and M83. Already on her fourth Zandari showcase, Aseul's EP "Asobi" was released in late July, over two years since the full-length "New Pop," with highlight tracks and accompanying videos "Fill Me Up," "Sandcastles," "Seoul Girl" and "Always With You." For Zandari she played that record all the way through, performing her signature mesmerizing vocals and beats while sitting calmly on stage and vocalizing into a microphone, surrounded by all her gear.
Aseul, whose real name is Lee Soo-jung, comes from a music major background, but her creative process comes from her own personal emotions. Her song lyrics read like a diary, tending towards a feeling of existentialism and loss about modern life. These emotional feelings coupled with her electro-pop beats make for compelling listening.
Beyond that, along with Neon Bunny and Uza, Aseul says she remains one of the few active female electronic performers in the Korean music scene, naturally leading to a small circle of collaborators. With Neon Bunny, she has toured in Taiwan and the three artists continue to work together and support each other's projects.
She wants people to continue discovering her music and to think "ah, there is this kind of artist," she said, adding: "There are many more indie musicians in Korea but it's a shame that many of them aren't taking part in Zandari. It would be nice if more people were able to participate."
"Asobi" was mastered by American musician Brannon McLeod at Dramaface Recordings and features him on guitar on "Sandcastles" and "Room." Additionally, after an open call for remixes from the album, Argentine artist Ouji picked up "Saram" and created a new track.
In general, Aseul said she attracts more international than local fans.
"During my performances, there seem to be more foreigners than Koreans. Relatively speaking, after the performance, it's mostly foreigners that will say 'I want to buy your CD' or 'I enjoyed your performance.'"
In September, Aseul did a three-show mini Shanghai tour in support of "Asobi." After playing more promotional shows, she plans to release more individual singles, so as to keep the momentum going and close the long gap that has grown between her albums, building her fan base both locally and abroad.