Review

Quick Reviews: The Suites’ “Programming Fluid”, Lolly’s “Asian Star Hogwart Avenue”, and Choyoung’s “More and More”

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The Suites – Programming Fluid

Release: January 31, 2019
Label: Independent
Distributor: Biscuit Sound
Genre: Pop, ambient, electronic
Score:

Programming Fluid is awash in muted melancholia, stoic and matter-of-fact in dealing with regret. (“The river by the neighborhood next over is wide // So it’s good for tossing in my sorrows”, sings the narrator of “17”.) Producer Yoo Young-jae (who’s got a track record under the name Palmbeach Wasted Youth Club) is stingy with the arrangements in these gentle tracks, characterized by minimal guitars, a couple pads, and subtle rhythms. Cine’s singing is raw and ponderous and though the distortion can be overbearing like in “Departure”, the delicate and echoing performances are generally good. Oppressively lonely at times, the EP leaves more of an impression as a forlorn whole rather than as individual tracks.

Tracklist (recommended tracks in bold)

  1. Dim Moon Theme
    Composed and arranged by Yoo Young-jae
  2. 17
    Written, composed and arranged by Yoo Young-jae
  3. 남겨진 사람들 (The Left Ones)
    Written, composed and arranged by Yoo Young-jae
  4. Departure
    Written, composed and arranged by Yoo Young-jae
  5. Sinkin’ Boat
    Written and composed by Park Geun-woo; arranged by Park Geun-woo and Yoo Young-jae

Lolly – Asian Star Hogwart Avenue: ASHA

Release: February 1, 2019
Label: Dontworrygoahead, GB Studio
Distributor: Warner Music Korea
Genre: Hip-hop, lo-fi rap
Score:

Getting noticed in the era of SoundCloud rap is something of a crapshoot, but Lolly has quietly built a solid discography with clear identity. This overtly emotional, relationship-focused sophomore album isn’t quite as weightless as pop rap, but it’s also more polished than the unkempt rawness of emo-rap. Mellow beats and melodic rapping are easy enough on the ears, and the consistent tinge of sadness provide a thematic bow. Now, ASHA has the same limitations as others like it: the moods and verses start sounding same after several tracks, and there’s nothing truly impressive or surprising about its routines. When I listen to the self-awareness of “BVLGARI” and recall the shock of hearing “Rockstar Love (Roses)” two years ago, I’m inclined to think that Lolly can break out at some point. ASHA isn’t there yet, but it does its job well enough.

Tracklist (recommended tracks in bold)

  1. Bus Stop (Feat. Yagan Camp)
    Written by Lolly and Yagan Camp; composed and arranged by Outofservice
  2. Zig Tech (Feat. Kash Bang)
    Written by Lolly and Kash Bang; composed and arranged by Outofservice
  3. 69 (Feat. Hangyul)
    Written by Lolly and Hangyul; composed and arranged by Mnzy
  4. BVLGARI (Feat. Juhwi & Hangyul)
    Written by Lolly, Juhwi, Hangyul; composed and arranged by O!ntment
  5. Dontworrygoahead (Feat. Miyagi Hyun, Sunoh, Yagan Camp)
    Written by Lolly, Miyagi Hyun, Sunoh, Yagan Camp; composed and arranged by Yagan Camp
  6. Worryus Line
    Written by Lolly; composed and arranged by Mnzy
  7. Angels
    Written by Lolly; composed and arranged by Badassgatsby
  8. Moonwalks + Shooting Star
    Written by Lolly; composed and arranged by O!ntment
  9. Jack to Rose
    Written by Lolly; composed and arranged by Ahn Duk-geun and Yagan Camp
  10. Disappointed
    Written by Lolly; composed and arranged by YNSK
  11. 애울리지마 (Aulizi Mob)
    Written by Lolly; composed and arranged by Inganmi
  12. 한강으로 (To Han River) (Feat. Worryus)
    Written by Miyagi Hyun, Somethingspecial, Juhwi, Hangyul, Lolly; composed and written by Ahn Duk-geun

Choyoung – More and More

Release: February 3, 2019
Label: Independent
Distributor: Ogam Entertainment
Genre: R&B, soul pop
Score:

Choyoung has been relatively quiet after a busy debut year in 2016, with just a couple of singles since then. Her touch is still intact, according to this pair of airy jams. The verses of “More and More” are full of punctuation, Choyoung’s singing sparse among the savory-slow pace and jazzy hum. The rhythmically packed chorus that follows is satisfying in contrast. There are two versions here, neither really better than the other: the lead track is a future-bass piece with thumping drums and slick synths, while the other is more analog soul and replaces YunB’s verse with an interlude. Both work well with Choyoung’s rich performance. The lyrics are unfortunately really thin, but they’re a minor annoyance in otherwise engrossing tracks.

Tracklist (recommended tracks in bold)

  1. More and More (Feat. YunB)
    Written by Choyoung and YunB; composed by Choyoung; arranged by GJ
  2. More and More (Original Ver.)
    Written, composed and arranged by Choyoung

Album cover images from Bugs Music (1) (2) (3). Lyric translations by author.

Related writing: Choyoung – What Is Your Color? (2016 in Review)