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Posted by AKP STAFF Thursday, September 22, 2011

Unhyped Talent: HourmeltS

AKP STAFF
allkpop

Welcome back to Unhyped Talent! It's been a while since we last saw you a couple of months ago with our spotlight on Free Style. For those new to the feature, Unhyped Talent is one of allkpop's editorial features where we hope to spotlight deserving and talented artists who sometimes get overlooked by their more mainstream peers. This time, we've brought you a talented duo named HourmeltS who have two amazing albums as we stand on the threshold between summer and the oncoming fall season (for most of us here in the States). Their debut album, "Twenties = Love", is perfect for those still hoping to enjoy the very last bits of summer, while their first EP, "Meaningful Days", is just the right soothing introduction into fall that you need. HourmeltS is an "easy listening" project group formed under the direction of composer, lyricist, guitarist, and vocalist Park Sung Gyu. He revealed that when he first met Heo So Young, a vocalist that specializes in jazz, he knew that HourmeltS had to be formed and the exact type of music they would be pursuing. In a way, she was his muse. Together, they spent four years producing songs that would ultimately become a 10-track debut album entitled "Twenties = Love", which was released in 2007. The duo was toted as the first real nu-jazz artist to pursue the genre in Korea, but they've been classified as everything from old pop, acid jazz, to bossa nova and lounge. Regardless, the wide array of classifications were perfect, because just like their name, the group hoped to "melt their music into every hour of your day," perfect for any and all situations. HourmeltS's style of nu-jazz is simply described as electronic jazz, in that the original jazz feel is re-arranged through electronic sounds and the blue feel is given a stylish, modern twist that's rhythmical and more appealing to the younger crowd. They definitely appealed to a niche crowd that were captivated with the way the duo were able to bring back turntable sounds from the 60's and 70's so seamlessly into the modern day. 01. Time Feedback 02. Moonlight Melody 03. Your World, My Nest, Vague Trust 04. Another Tropical 05. Earphone World 06. Where Are You 07. Living Together 08. Heart Noise 09. Twenties = Love 10. Snow Sun < Time Feedback > "Twenties = Love" opens up with "Time Feedback", a track with a strong melody that almost anyone can connect to, regardless of what their favorite genre is. One of the connecting themes for the entire album is that under the modern, almost tropical-like beats are warm, romantic lyrics that bring together the perfect balance of hot and cold. < Another Tropical > "Tropical icy liquor and crimson twilight beach, swept away by the wave to afternoons languid.. Tropical.. Tropical... Scribbles on the sand vanishes in the wave, blow slowly, breeze, and flow the waves to somewhere.." < Where Are You > "Another Tropical" and "Where Are You" are both songs where you can strongly hear their bossa nova influence. "Where Are You" and "Living Together" in particular were said to have been inspired by Sergio Mendes and combines Latin and samba tunes into one addictive track. < Living Together > Another fun track is "Earphone World", a song that possesses all of the qualities you want to hear the minute you put in your earphones as you walk out the door on a sunny morning. It's a lot more upbeat compared to the other tracks and leaves a strong, positive impression < Earphone World > The theme is continued through "Twenties = Love", where all of the carefree attitude and dreams of people in their 20's is carried in a vibrant manner. There are no lyrics, but the song sings of life in that once you hit your 30's, you're tied down by life, and the only thing you have left as a reminder of your 20's is love. < Twenties = Love > The two songs that I consider 'treats' in the album are "Heart Noise" and "Snow Sun". They both feature the vocals of the male producer behind the entire album, and although it isn't anything perfect or immediately stunning like Heo So Young, his voice has that indie charm that makes the songs feel warm and fuzzy. < Snow Sun > It's the point in the album where all of the high roller coaster feelings wind down and you're lulled into a calmer state, acting as the perfect breaking point for the album. -- 01. Alcoholic (Feat. Lee Ji Min) 02. Roman From Italy (Feat. Lee Ji Min) 03. Weekend of Wisdom (Grooming Ver.) 04. Alcoholic (Piano Ver.) 05. Meaningless Day 06. Unrestraint (Feat. Yeon Jin) In 2009, producer Park Sung Gyu received a notice of enlistment into the army. While counting down the days to his enlistment, he put together a digital EP of songs that he had written in that time. Perhaps that is the reason why the EP takes the group in a calmer, less vibrant direction compared to their first studio album. The album is best described as somewhere between lounge and chill-out music. Heo So Young's absence is replaced by two guest vocalists, Lee Ji Min and Yeon Jin, as well as more vocal work by Park Sung Gyu. The jazz and blues influences that were hinted at in the first album are stripped here, but HourmeltS sticks to their old pop sound for a lounge collection of rather danceable beats. < Alcoholic > The EP begins with "Alcoholic", a waltz-influenced track with soft singing by Lee Ji Min, and moves on to "Roman From Italy", which retains some of HourmeltS's first album qualities in a calmer fashion. The beat itself is a lot of fun in that it's soothing yet still upbeat with a bit of samba influences thrown in there. < Weekend of Wisdom > "Weekend of Wisdom" was included in a 2007 two-part compilation album of various indie artists by Mint Paper titled "Cat Story". It's the only song in the album with vocals by Heo So Young, which makes it a welcome track for fans yearning for the duo's older style. The way the song's arranged just makes you think of a clear, fall day, sitting in a cafe overlooking a small but cozy town. < Meaningless Day > Personally, my favorite song off of the album is "Meaningless Day" because it's a nice contrast to the EP title and really makes up what I think the album is meant to be about. Just like the title states, the lyrics describe a boring, meaningless day where everything goes wrong. "Oh, it's the start of another boring day with a tasteless breakfast. I'm already late for my meeting, and I shudder at the thought of walking down the endless path to work. One by one, rain drops begin to collect on the street. My car's covered in dust and the engine won't start." -- There hasn't been a release since 2009 because of Park Sung Gyu's army enlistment, but since he was discharged, it hopefully means that there will be some great music to look forward to. Check out our past Unhyped Talents on 10cm, Standing Egg, and Free Style if you missed out! --

  1. UNHYPED TALENT
  2. HOURMELTS
  3. HEO SO YOUNG
  4. PARK SUNG GYU
  5. TWENTIES = LOVE
  6. MEANINGFUL DAYS
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