The Squid's Ear Magazine

Joonyong, Choi / Jin Sangtae: Hole in My Head (erstwhile)

Recording in two locations in Seoul by Taku Unami, electronic, sound and noise artists Choi Joonyong and Jin Sangtae present a series of unusual interactions using sonic events, concrete and acousmatic interjections and aberrant expression, patiently conveying each event with clarity and intention and an almost theatrical sense of drama and narrative.

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product information:

Label: erstwhile
Catalog ID: Erstwhile 089
Squidco Product Code: 29742

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2020
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack - 3 panel
Recorded at T2 Stage, Oil Tank Culture Park, in Seoul, Korea, on February 7th and 10th, 2020, and at dotolim, Seoul, Korea, February 9th, 2020, by Taku Unami .


Choi Joonyong-electronics

Jin Sangtae-electronics

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Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"The only true non-places are those of the mind: but being able to give them a tangible form doesn't always equate to the delineation of a balanced, pictorially satisfying landscape, nor does it solve the inner mystery from which it originated. In the creation of an audio document, even the simplest sonic occurrence derives from an idea and a gesture, even if only pressing the record button: and it's precisely the gesture - be it overt, dissimulated, concealed, or mediated - the absolute protagonist of the free exploration conducted by South Korean sound artists Choi Joonyong and Jin Sangtae in their latest collaboration under the aegis of Erstwhile Records, after twenty years of activity still firmly presiding over the territories of the most radical expressive otherness.

Unlike many free impro sessions, in the credits for Hole in My Head the objects and instruments used by the two artists are not specified, while to them is more generally attributed the 'music' of the album, recorded by Taku Unami between February 7 and 10 of this year at two cultural venues in Seoul (the Dotolim space and the Oil Tank Culture Park). But although these sessions can easily fall within the field of an alleged non-music - that is, foreign to a more or less canonical "playing" -, it's suprising how the duo manages to create a compelling dramaturgy based almost exclusively on the juxtaposition of concrete sounds produced live in variable relationship with the surrounding space, here and there crossed or surmounted by alienating collages and electronic incursions.

For the purposes of individual listening, the acousmatic quality of the sonic instances involved remains essential: in the larger picture of the work, in fact, even recognizable phenomena such as a handclap, or a ping pong ball bouncing on the ground, comply with the process of abstraction through which Joonyong and Sangtae give equal dignity and depth to each discrete element. Industrial clangours and para-rhythmic interventions on heterogeneous materials, minute glitchy punctuations and obtundent noise saturations become the indistinct traces of their passage, non-significant in the same way, a shapeless theme of the urban periphery and a counterpoint to the natural resonances and the birdsong that occasionally repopulates the gloomy open-air views.

Despite the emotional detachment and the objectifying yearning typical of the Far Eastern experimental scene, the specter of anthropic abuse of the landscape, albeit involuntarily, seems to make its way through the folds of Hole in My Head , a sense of bitter artificiality that persists precisely because of the context in which the sound gestures are forcibly inscribed, among the concrete barriers that identify and delimit the ever-expanding domain of modern civilization.If Toshiya Tsunoda's field recording archive captured the invisible changes in the port ecosystem through the detail of strategic microphonations, Choi Joonyong and Jin Sangtae exhibit the violence - sometimes quiet, other times brutal - of a senseless and insatiable human action, the apparently reassuring facade of a decay of which, sooner or later, we ourselves will be the ones to pay the price."-esoteros

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Artist Biographies

"Joon-Yong Choi formed the first noise project in Korea, Astronoise, in 1996 with Chulki Hong and has been exploring the amplification and physical properties of sound. It mainly works to expose the underlying sound from the operating mechanism by using errors such as CD players, MP3 players, open reel tape recorders, VCRs, and speakers that are no longer in use. Recently, he is conducting a performance that raises doubts about the perception and inferiority of the sound that occurs between the space and the listening act, and is interested in the control and failure of the performance obtained through improvisation or composition. Since 2003, she has participated in improvised music performances, Starfish and RELAY, and has collaborated with domestic and foreign writers. As a solo, she released five albums, including DANTHRAX, made using the malfunction of a CD player. Since 2000, he has been in charge of designing and producing albums at the label Balloon & Needle, introducing domestic experimental music to overseas. In addition, he is playing bass in'Vomit & Tear', a Doom metal band formed with SklavenTanz members."

-Balloon & Needle (translated by Google) (

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"Born in 1975 in Seoul, Korea, Jin Sangtae performs with non-musical objects collected through his experience, projected into instruments, and then re-organised into the space. He uses hard drives and several materials that can be connected as a main instruments, and he also plays laptops, radios, car horns and electronics. He's been uploading online his composition 'Year' via mobile phone everyday since 2015. He founded 'dotolim'(a small space for improvised music) and has been organising the 'dotolim concert series' since 2008 as well as the festival 'dotolimpic' in 2012, 2013 and 2017."

-Jin Sangtae Website (

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Track Listing:

1. H 01:35

2. E 08:21

3. A 05:59

4. D 06:04

5. in my 06:32

6. H 11:45

7. O 04:42

8. L 02:53

9. E 08:23

Related Categories of Interest:

Electronic Forms
Free Improvisation
Electro-Acoustic Improv
Asian Improvisation & Jazz
Duo Recordings
New in Experimental & Electronic Music

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