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JAMBINAI

Post Rock/Math rock • Korea


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Jambinai biography
JAMBINAI (잠비나이) are an experimental South Korean post rock band that mix Korean traditional and folk music (gugak) with post/avant rock/metal, using both traditional rock instruments (drums, bass guitar, electric guitar) and traditional Korean instruments (haegeum, piri, geomungo). Their blending of genres have garnered almost as much resentment from Korean traditional musicians as their music has received praise from critics and fans.

The band was founded after the three core members - Ilwoo LEE (guitar and piri (bamboo oboe)), Eunyoung SIM (geomungo (zither)) and Bomi KIM (haegum (fiddle-like instrument)) - met in 2009 at Korea's National University of Arts while studying traditional Korean music, and again, after graduation, after attending a mutual friend's concert. They started talking about Korean traditional music, and soon after they founded JAMBINAI, with the aim of presenting gugak in the contemporary music scene, and in part as a reaction to the growing popularity of generic K-Pop.

In 2011, they released a three song self-titled EP through GMC Records. During the summer of 2011, the band performed at the Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival. Then, in November, they came in second place, and won the "Jury Prize", at the EBS Hello Rookie Final. The following year they released their full length album debut, "Différance", which led them to win "Best Crossover Album" and nomination for "Best Jazz & Crossover Performance" at the 2013 Korean Music Awards.

The next three years the band, as a quintet with touring members DOKYO 13 (bass) and Mounghoon RYU (drums), toured South Korea, Europe, Brazil and the US, including performances at major international festivals such as the World Village Festival in Finland, Cena Contemporanea in Brazil, WOMEX in Wales, and the Oslo World Music Festival in Norway.

In 2016 they released their sophomore album, "A Hermitage (隱棲은서)".

Highly recommended to fans of NINE INCH NAILS, SWANS and GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR, and to those in search of truly original and innovative post rock.

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Buy JAMBINAI Music


A HermitageA Hermitage
Bella Union 2016
$14.89
$27.61 (used)
DifferanceDifferance
Bella Union 2017
$9.72
$9.98 (used)
DifferenceDifference
Imports 2012
$1,437.70
$14.98 (used)
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JAMBINAI discography


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JAMBINAI top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.46 | 4 ratings
Différance
2012
4.07 | 5 ratings
A Hermitage (隱棲은서)
2016

JAMBINAI Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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JAMBINAI Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

JAMBINAI Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

5.00 | 1 ratings
잠비나이 (Jambinai)
2010

JAMBINAI Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Différance by JAMBINAI album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.46 | 4 ratings

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Différance
Jambinai Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Mortte

3 stars Jambinai was a really promising band, when I got this their first album after their concert in Finland. And the promises fullfilled in their next "a Hermitage"! I am not an expert of postrock, but I believe this first is more the style of that genre than the second one. Of course here are too those Korean instruments to make this more interesting. This album also includes one of their greatest songs "Connection". Ilwoo had told in Finland´s first gig, that there were many years, when North and South Korean relatives couldn´t meet each other. Some years ago this was again possible and then Jambinai decided to compose this instrumental song about that.

"Time Of Extinction" starts with Eynyong playing a riff in Geomungo. Soon there comes really heavy beat back of it, but also soon the song changes acoustic but keeps its` very depressive feeling in the end of it. Next "Grace Kelly" starts with acoustic guitar and then comes really Ministry-like uptempo electric musicwall. Soon there´s just mystical guitar and ladies of the band singing something very dark. Song ends into same uptempo part. The next "Glow Upon Closed Eyes" is opposite of previous song, it´s mostly acoustic and reminds the ambient songs of Pink Floyd. Both Paramita´s have same structure: quiet acoustic background growing tension that outbursts into end of piece. "Hand Of Redemption" is again uptempo Ministry-like piece that slows into end of it, but stays very depressive. Empty Pupil pt.1 starts with electric noise, but slowly changes acoustic towards it´s part 2. When Geomungo starts it´s riffs, there come also hard beats and songs intensity grows again. The Last "Connection" is the crown of this album: it starts really serene, then comes short electronic sound and after that Bomi starts to play a beautiful melody with her Haegum. Ilwoo joins her with the Piri, also guitar starts to play really beautiful chords into back of the main melody. The song grows really great way. This song moves me always when I hear it!

This first album was really hard to find anywhere soon after it´s release, but gladly there has been made re-releases with different cover that seem to be available at least in Discogs. In my first Jambinai review I forgot to mention that I believe many King Crimson fans will like Jambinai, specially the ones who like KC after seventies material. Both bands have same kind of dynamic changes, from very heavy to really sensitive. This album sounds still so great that I really would wanted to give it also four stars, but because a Hermitage is so much better, I give it only three.

 A Hermitage (隱棲은서) by JAMBINAI album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.07 | 5 ratings

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A Hermitage (隱棲은서)
Jambinai Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Mortte

4 stars This album was one of my highlights in 2016! I am not a postrock fan at all, but Jambinai is a great exception. I think the reason is, that I believe the bands leader Ilwoo Lee is not trying to do postrock, I think he just wants to do great music. Also of course the traditional Korean instruments make their sound very personal. To me Piri is not sounding oboe at all, it has much more higher sound. Also Haegum is more like rebab, geomungo looks like some bass kantele, but has really own sound. Also I believe the warm production is one reason, why I like this album so much, in "They Keep Silence"-video it looks, they´ve used analog equipments in recording. Jambinai`s music is mostly instrumental, but there are also few sung and spoken songs.

Jambinai played their first outside Korean gig in Finland, World Village-festival 2013. To my shame I wasn´t there, but I was really glad my friend brought me their first album there. In 2016 I noticed they´ve released this album. Then another friend told me, they were performing Modern Sky-festival in Finland. Then I didn´t miss that memorable gig.

Starting piece "Wardrope" in Hermitage really hits listeners face. It hammers 7/8 rhythm straight to the head and Ilwoo screams the vocals. "Echo Of Creation" starts also with very hard beats, but soon there are only two guitar notes repeating and Ilwoo and Eynyoug start to hymn very sad melody. The song grows into end. The next "the Everything that you lost" starts again with four repeating guitar notes, then Ilwoo starts to play piri and piano also joins. This song also grows in a very great way and stays very beautiful. "Abyss" is again very cruel piece, there non-band member Ignito saying spoken words. It´s shame lyrics are not translated into English, but it´s not hard to me imagine Ignitos is telling death sentence to me or someone else.

The very harsh feeling continues into next "Deus Benedicat Tibi", but just when you are thinking the end chaos is too much for you, you hear great, sad melody played by acoustic guitar, when "The Mountain" starts. It´s really a masterpiece of this album, Haegum starts soon repeat same sad melody when guitars and geomungo develop the melody same time. "Naburak" returns to the cruel side of the album, but it´s more acoustic than other heavy pieces. In the end of it there is silent part, where Haegum sounds like Rick Wright ´s organ in Pink Floyd silent psychedelic parts. In this song it was really great to see how Eunyoug gives geomungo a ride making also interesting sounds, just like guitar heroes have done to guitars. Don´t have no idea, how this instrument is played in Korean traditional music. Album ends really great way in "They Keep Silence" which has the most hitpotential in this album, although it´s just too dark to the world´s hitlists. In this song Ilwoo sings very chill way.

Really recommend Jambinai to the people who likes Pink Floyd and Ministry. I can´t listen whole Ministry album through, but in this Jambinai album those really heavy and really sensitive parts are in a very great balance. I think this great, original band really deserves much more attention in this today´s world, where too many musicmakers haven´t got courage to take risks to go outside their music genre. Last year I could have given this five stars, but because I wait this band to make their masterpiece in next album, I give now four.

Thanks to The Bearded Bard for the artist addition.

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