Review

2015 in Review: Day 9 – Crossover and Other

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[The 2015 in Review Series]

1. Prelude (Best Album Art)
2. R&B and Soul
3. Rock and Alternative
4. Rap and Hip-hop
5. Dance and Electronic
6. Pop and Ballad
7. Folk and Country
8. Jazz and Blues
9. Crossover and Other
10. Best Collaborative Work
11. Rookie Artist of the Year
12. Artist of the Year
13. Song of the Year
14. Album of the Year
15. Staff Picks
16. Other Recognition
17. Concluding Remarks

Featured this year in our most diverse category are offerings from Korean traditional, ethnic fusion, reggae, dub, classical, opera, avant-garde crossover, experimental R&B, Latin, gypsy style, Afro-Cuban, new age, and more; in addition, works that are beyond my ability to reasonably classify otherwise also go here.

Important: as in previous years, the Album of the Year and Song of the Year (and their runner-ups) are not included in the genre categories. That means that, for example, there could be a crossover album that isn’t being recognized on this page because it’s the album of the year. Also, note that all “First Ten Out” and “Honorable Mention” picks are sorted by artist name.

Albums

Best Crossover and Other Album 2015

2nd Moon - What Have You Been Doing

2nd Moon – 그동안 뭐하고 지냈니? (What Have You Been Doing In The Meantime?)

2nd Moon’s debut album came out all the way back in 2005, and it’s been an enduring work that remains one of my all-time favorites. Friendly-titled What Have You Been Doing picks up right where the crew left off over ten years ago, bringing back the brimming life, exotic  sounds, and intricate composition of that seminal work. The members’ ethnic-fusion approach once again borrows from traditions as diverse as South Indian to Irish, applying their penchant for exhilarating melodies and particularly vibrant string play. I sure hope it’s not another decade before we see another release, but this album isn’t going to get old anytime soon.

Runner-up Crossover and Other Album 2015

Gongjoong Doduk - Gongjoong Doduk

Gongjoong Doduk – Gongjoong Doduk

I always harp on how this category includes albums that appear because they are otherwise not sortable. Gongjoong Doduk’s eponymous debut is kind of folk, but there’s also a heavy dose of electronic (try the wholesale distortion, static and bells of “White Room” and “Parasol”), rock ‘n’ roll (“Seismic Waves”), and psychedelia (the whole album). Whatever this is, it’s an incredible discovery to listen to these strange rhythms and discordant but oddly appropriate compositions. That it’s a solo production is borderline unbelievable.

The First Ten Out

Songs

Best Crossover and Other Song 2015

Fairy Tale – 신바람 (High Spirits)

Staying true to title, Fairy Tale perfectly captured the joyful energy that Korean traditional is capable of in “High Spirits”. This would actually be a more than decent piece in a purely modern arrangement (carrying the piano), so pretty are its melodies. But the fast-building and nuanced harmony of haegeum, ajaeng, geomungo, percussion, and daegeum/sogeum winds add irreplaceable texture, and the track hurtles to a thrilling conclusion without breaking that spell.

Runner-up Crossover and Other Song 2015

Primary – 아끼지마 (Don’t Be Shy) (Featuring ChoA of AOA, Iron)

Dub has been attempted a bit in recent years by hip-hop producers – see Nuol for the best example. Primary knocked it out of the park in “Don’t Be Shy”: a simmering and addictive beat that is just the right amounts of dry and funky. ChoA also put in a fantastic vocal performance, expertly slipping in and out of pitches and adding all kinds of intrigue in the double track. Iron’s 8-bar actually could have been longer, but even as is, his gradual awakening is a fun listen. One of the most sonically enjoyable songs of 2015.

The First Ten Out

A-Fuzz - Fading Lights

A-Fuzz – Fading Lights*

Chorok Table - I'm Still OK

Chorok Table – I’m Still OK

Do Jae-myung - Today's Diary

Do Jae-myung – 오늘의 일기 (Today’s Diary) (Featuring Jung Cha-sik)

Gongjoong Doduk - Gongjoong Doduk

Gongjoong Doduk – 하얀 방 (White Room)

Graye - Junk Pixel

GRAYE – Empty Space (Featuring Kim Oki)

KimjaewonKimjaewon - My Fault

KimjaewonKimjaewon – My Fault

Mari - Star, Start

Mari – 별, 시작 (Star, Start)

P-Dul - 1st

P-Dul – 삼청동 나들이 (Samchung-dong Picnic)

Poe - Everything Is Fine

Poe – Everything Is Fine*

Sentimental Scenery - 11 Days

Sentimental Scenery – Epic

Honorable Mentions

Albums

Bongkwon – 밤눈 (Night Snow)
Chorok Table – 웰컴 투 곰배령 (Welcome to Gombaeryung)
E-Do – 여민락 (Yeominrak)
Kang Ji-eun – 바람은 고개를 넘고 (The Wind Goes Over The Hill)
Kim Gun-hyung – 바람을 담다 (Gather the Wind)
Kingston Rudieska – Everyday People
Lee Gu-sam – 단편집 (Short Piece Collection)
Los Amigos – Los Amigos 2nd Vamos
LuKas – LuKas’ Diary
Lyn – 9X9th
Mari – Star, Start
Mary – 인사 (Greeting)
Nuol – Kingkong In Nuol
P-Dul – 1st
Rude Paper – Destroy Babylon
Seo Mimi – Arirang
Shin Young-ok – Mystique
Supullim – 수풀림 세번째 앨범 (Supullim Third Album)
TAAL – 술비 (Sulbi)
Tehiun – 행후감 (Travel Report)
Toda – The Moment
Viagem – 여행 (Travel)
Vidan – 만월의 기적 (Winter Miracle)
Yunsung Jung – Incorrect

Songs

2nd Moon – 달리는 비행기 (The Running Plane)
2nd Moon – 달이 피었네 (The Moon Bloomed)
2nd Moon – 두 개의 길 (Two Roads)
2nd Moon – 여행의 기술 (Technique of Travel)
Ahn Sung-jin – Rushed City
Bongkwon – 낡은 노래 (Old Song)
Cielo – Fear
Cubanism – Vamos a Bailar
Dclat – 간섭 (Interference)
Do Jae-myung – 미완의 곡 (Incomplete Song)
Haenari – 사랑의 인사 (Salut D’amour)
I.Na – My Love
Ji Hyun-soo – First Mover
Kang Ji-eun – 바다를 쓸어, 바람은 (Sweeps the Sea the Wind To)
Kim Chang-wan Band – 내 마음에 주단을 깔고 (Put Silk On My Heart) (Featuring Jambinai)
Kim Gun-hyung – 문득 (Suddenly)
Kim Miso – Spring Beat
King Kong – Strum (Featuring Basick)
Kingston Rudieska – Digging Your Sound
Ku Hye-sun – 십년이 백년이 지난 후에 (After 10 Years, 100 Years)
Lee Gwang-hyeon – 그 꿈속에서 (In That Dream)
Lee Gu-sam – Lessons From The Stories And…
Los Amigos – Conga
Lyn – 사랑은 그렇게 또 다른 누구에게 (Love Then To Someone Else)
Montant – Circle of Life
Oh Jung-min –  聽香(청향) : 향기를 듣다 (Listen To The Scent)
Park Ki-young – 어느 멋진 날 (One Fine Day)
Pit-a-Pat – Starry Night
Ro – Serenade
Rude Paper – New Rasta Virus (Featuring Double K)
Rude Paper – Night Time Melody
Rude Paper – 꿈이라도 좋아 (Even If A Dream)
Supullim – Listen Up
Trampauline – Such A Clown
Una – La Paix
Vidan – 만월의 기적 (Winter Miracle)
Yang Hee-eun – 산책 (Walk) (Featuring Lee Sang-soon)
Yisabel – Oceano 2015

*Studio version not available on YouTube.

Sources: header image and album art from Bugs Music.

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