김두수 (Kim Doo Soo) – 自由魂 (자유혼, Free Spirit)
On the recently reviewed album International Sad Hits Vol 1 I wrote that Kim Doo Soo was the great surprise of the CD for me. So I went ahead and bought (not that easy, import from US!) one of his most recommended album, the Free Spirit.
Sad songs, full of melancholy, speaking of desperation, isolation, destroyed love. The music and singing is simple, mainly based on guitar and voice only, at times harmonica, strings and others are added. In contrast to the Crying Philosopher Tomokawa Kazuki, the songs are all very melodic and easy to listen, but still carrying a strong impact. After listening to these songs, the melodies wander around my brain resonating again and again, like (mis)guiding lights in a dark forest.
All the songs are in Korean, but fortunately the accompanying booklet carries a Japanese translation for the Korean incapables like me. In the future I will provide some translations into English, since I believe that this artist should be more known outside this small area. While a friend of mine said
I don’t like 貧乏くさい (bimbokusai) music, I have to say I enjoy reading through the sad stories while listening to this special music.
This is the 2002 fourth album by Korea’s true cult folk/singer-songwriter hero, Kim Doo Soo. Kim Doo Soo is perhaps the deepest and most introspective of Korea’s acid folk singers. Legends surround his songs — political oppression, alcoholism, suicide, a 10-year period of mountain seclusion. […] On Free Spirit he mines productive veins of profound melancholy, animistic nature, and unfathomable, hermetic affection. These songs are couched in a veil of gorgeous, still melodicism, Kim’s quavering vocals and guitar shaded with subtle accordion, cello, organ and harmonica. A reflective and unearthly masterpiece.
— Forced Exposure
To this I cannot add anything more eloquent!
The songs on this CD are as follows, the English translation is taken from Kim Doo Soo’s official web page.
- 들꽃 (Wild flower)
- 기슭으로 가는 배 (Boat for the shore)
- 나비 (Butterfly)
- 해당화 (Sweetbrier)
- 보헤미안 (Bohemian)
- 새벽비 (Dawn rain)
- 19번지 Blues (Blues of 19th street)
- 산 (Mountain)
- 시간은 흐르고 (As time goes by)
- Romantic Horizon
- 추상(追想) (Reminiscence)
- 저녁강 (Evening river)
- 방랑부(賦) (Bohemian poetry)
- 들엔, 민들레 (Dandelion, dandelion)
My favorites under these songs are Boat for the shore (
“You aren’t coming any more … onto a wild sea I am leaving”), Bohemian (
“I’m going to the shores of emptiness, my free spirit flows down the river” — probably his most famous song, assumed to be responsible for his retreat to the mountains), Dawn rain (A lovely song, and the only one without Japanese translation! Very strange.), Mountain (
“Mountains – Mountains – my dream, mountains”). But I can recommend each and every song on this CD.
To close this short review, if you are interested in something else but the usual happy-pappy KPop or JPop or USPop, and are searching for inspiring and songs with “Tiefgang” (deep meaning, as we say it in German), give this special artist a try!
Some links concerning Kim Doo Soo that might be useful:
- Official Web site
- Kim Doo Soo Live Information for Japan
- A review of Kim Doo Soo’s Bohemian at KPopStarz
- Kim Doo Soo at Psychedelic Folk – with short reviews of his albums
- (in Russian) Biography of Kim Doo Soo on svyazalamuzyka
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