Live Review: Unframe Seoul: Take #2 – Rolling Hall, Seoul (08.12.18)

On bitterly cold evening, in Seoul’s Rolling Hall, nine artists perform with the city of Seoul on their minds. Coming together from various artistic backgrounds and genres, the eight artists, and one special guest, celebrate the release of compilation album, Unframe Seoul: Take #2.  It’s the second compilation curated by Unframe Seoul, a media platform formed in 2017 to introduce Seoul based music talent. On each of the album’s six songs, Kim Sawol, Jeon Beomseon and the Yangbans, DJ Bowlcut, Viann X Khundi Panda, Y0UNG VA$$ X BIGONE and YESEO represent what Seoul means for them.

Seoul Community Radio’s DJ Bowlcut opened the showcase. Though initially having difficulties captivating the audience with his atmospheric ambient music, as his set progressed to house music, the audience loosened up and danced to its groove. With incredibly clean mixing, his set was very rounded. He worked hard to create a specific soundscape centred around his contributing track ‘Fucks Given Zero’. And despite its overall lack of lyrics, his set was one of the only that had a sense of completeness, like telling a story.

Singer and producer YESEO was up next. With a pop and RnB sensibility combined with pure vulnerability in her angelic voice, she embodied both a sensuality and sweetness. Yet while she put on a solid performance, the crowd seemed distant. Seemingly more interested in scrolling through their phones, the audience tuned out when she spoke to them in between songs.

The genre moved to hip hop with producer Y0UNG VA$$ and Vis Major rapper BIGONE taking the stage. BIGONE was natural on stage, with a charming stage presence and nice rap delivery. And with the combination of that and high energy trap beats, there were no issues engaging the crowd. Which meant they gave a well delivered, yet very standard hip hop performance.

DJ and producer Viann and rapper Khundi Panda stayed within the defines of hip hop, but took a less orthodox approach. Viann’s mosaic boom bap production fit well with Khundi Panda’s cut throat rap. And while Khundi Panda spoke to the crowd comfortably with a cool nonchalance, his impeccable rap delivery completely commanded them.

Special guest indie band Gong Joong Geu Neul gave a very well-polished live performance. While they didn’t have much to say to the crowd, their indie synth pop anthems and infections energy had them dancing.

The mood turned sombre with singer Kim Sawol, who’s simplicity worked wonders on the crowd. With just her feathery voice and a guitar, it was all she needed to have the audience spellbound. She didn’t speak much between songs, instead, just letting her music speak for itself. The audience couldn’t help but be drawn in by the raw bittersweet emotion within her voice, feeling what she was feeling.

The final act of the night was Jeon Beomseon and the Yangbans, who closed the show in good old-fashioned rock and roll style. Front man Jeon Beomseon brought a sweat dripping, high octane bravado that commanded the crowd. This pure energy combined with the band’s organ fueled rawness ended the night with a bang.

Despite Unframe Seoul being a relatively new player on the scene, it’s sights and intentions are in the right place. From the beautifully edited introduction videos, to the clean transition between set changes, the show was incredibly well executed. Yet the best part? To see such a diversity of talented artists and genres on the same bill.

On the album, Unframe Seoul: Take #2, the various colours of the city of Seoul were set forth. Yet what the showcase did was to bring the colours to life, to paint the true diversity of Seoul in the best way possible.

Unframe Seoul: Take #2 is available to stream on Spotify now.