Lee Sang-eun could hardly be categorized as underground although I get the impression she wouldn't mind the artistic credibility that goes with the label. Lee came to fame in the late Nineteen eighties with the annoying but catchy Dam-da-dee. (For those who don't know Korean, that is not a Korean word but simply the sort of sound a person makes when they are making a melody without any specific words in mind. I think you can guess what type of song it was.) Lee, got national attention with that song and probably earned truckloads of money. At the time it was on the lips of all primary, middle and high school students and many others as well. Lee has continued to produce albums and appears to be making great efforts to shake off her early image with chic and cool album covers.
The reason I have included her in my underground music website is because of the album she made in 1993. She has produced 7 albums to date and has encompassed a variety of styles but the 1993 self titled (5th) album is certainly noteworthy. It came to my attention initially because of the hit song Onjen kaneun (언젠가는) [Someday]. The song is a beautiful ballad which features a climactic melody, is given complex varitations, and a soulful feeling by saxophone and harmonica solos. The song should be recognized as the great Korean rock anthem. The rest of the album fits together well something like a personal sketchbook expressed in a jazz, rock, folk blend. It was the first Korean album I heard which came together as a whole product.
Two albums since then have demonstrated an increasing desire to experiment. The 1993 album seems to have been made in the U.S. and the following two in Japan. 1997's WoeRopGo WutGin GaGe (외롭고 웃가 가계) is a simple, sparse production featuring backing of acoustic and electric guitars and drums. The unusual melodies build an ambience of loneliess or solitude (as eluded to in the title) buts lacks any climax to keep the listener's senses stimulated. The atmospheric quality of the album may be comparable to work by Enya but the production brings to mind early '80s post-punk pre-gothic music like The Cure. It's good listening if you happen to be in the right mood - (slightly gloomy). I hear she's released an eight album following the style of the previous two.
A Korean fan's site (Korean Text) An American fan's site (English Text) --MichaelGlass
This is her fifth album. It was made while she was studying in New York City, NY. This is another great album. I had it in tape, but I lost it couple of years ago. But recently, I found a used one at a store around here. I was so excited! Hope you enjoy as much as I do.
All the english titles are copied from the CD sleeve since it had both Korean and English titles. --HongCho, 1997
|Twisted but Straight|
Her lyrics are sometimes a little awkward (especially some of her English ones), but the album has a definite color. If you liked Byeok on her fifth album, you might like this one, too.
Personally, I like the title song, Gongmudohaga, Samdocheon and Sae. BTW, Gongmudohaga is originally a poem from an ancient time in Korea. I think it is from the "GoJoSeon" era (don't believe everything I say; I wasn't good at historical facts), and I remember reading it in my high school textbook, very vaguely.
|Don't Say That Was Yesterday|
|Gongmudohaga||Don't Cross The River, My Love|
|22, 23, 24|
|Come, The Children Do|
|September Rain Song|
|MuEotSeuRo DaSi TaeEoNaDeun||Reincarnation|
Her seventh album sounds a lot like her previous release. This is no surprise because it was her another collaboration work with Takeda, Hazimu. It's really amazing to learn that he played all the instruments (Ms. Lee wrote all the lyrics and melodies again, by the way).
Musically, this album doesn't introduce us anything new, I think (I've only listened to this album only once at the time of this writing). However, I am very pleased at what she is doing. She has been getting more insightful about the music she would like to pursue, and her maturity is quite noticeable. I didn't like the song that made her famous, DamDaDi that much. But she has proven herself as a songwriter as well as a singer. --HongCho, 1997-04-27
|SaRamEun Da SaRam||Human is a Human|
|SaeBbalGan Hwal||Red Arrow|
|Super Eraser Medium|
|WoeRopGo WutGin GaGe||A Lonely and Funny Shop|
As always, Takeda, Hajimu played a huge roll in arrangements and instruments. Also, Won, Il played percussion for several tracks. It was interesting to hear English versions, although I am biased toward her Korean words. :) Come to think of it, most tracks have new arrangemtns (as they should).
Bottom line: If you are a fan or wanted to understand what she was talking about all those times, get it. :)
I think this album was originally released in Japan under the name, Lee-tzsche. Cute.
This album is more of an English version of what she's been doing for the past two album. So, Takeda, Hajimu did most of instrument playing and orchestrations. Except for a couple of them, all the words are in English, so for those people who couldn't get what she was saying in Korean, this is your chance. :)
|Spring (out track version)|
|Ogiyodiora (ost version)|
|Reincarnation (vocal version)|
|Ogiyodiora (original korean version)|
|I'll Falling in Love|
|The Song of never Cross the River, Lover|
|Lonely but Comic Drugstore|
|1997||Lee-Tzsche(English version of OiRopGo UtGin GaGe)|
|1998||Give it All(OST)|
|(English version compilation)|
|2000||She Wanted(OST of the movie BongJa)|