Similar & Different

GB 112CD GB 112CD

Dal:um is a musical duo based in Seoul, who challenges the sonic possibilities of Korea's most well-known traditional string instruments: the gayageum and geomungo. Ethereal and otherworldly, Dal:um create a compelling soundworld that treasures subtle dynamics and the space between the notes. Two musicians. Two weighty acoustic stringed instruments. A dialogue between traditional and experimental practices. Dal:um was founded in 2018 by Ha Suyean (gayageum) and Hwang Hyeyoung (geomungo). Suyean notes that they first met as members of Seoul Metropolitan Youth Traditional Music Ensemble. While both Suyean and Hyeyoung had been performing Korean traditional music since their childhoods, upon meeting they discovered a shared desire to extend the techniques and boundaries of their instruments and to develop their own distinctive repertoire. The music of Dal:um is the result. "Dal:um's literal meaning is 'keep pursuing something' and it conveys our passion for music" says Hyeyoung. "In Korean its pronunciation could also mean 'different'. Dal:um represents the sounds of two similar and different instruments -- geomungo and gayageum..." When laid flat for performance, the two instruments played by Dal:um appear to be quite similar. However, a closer examination reveals both visual and sonic individualities. These instruments are ancient in origin, have silk strings that are plucked and can emit both melodic tonalities and percussive resonances. But their size difference, as well as the fact that they have a different number of strings, gives each of them a distinctive musical character. There is a refined and patient minimalism in Dal:um's compositions and musical expression. In part this can be attributed to their deep investigation of contemporary composition. The duo specifically notes that "this album contains the results of conversations about our music with three young Korean composers: Jang Taepeyong, Choi Jiwoon and Lee Aro." Dal:um's music could also be seen as sharing aesthetic concerns with Asian traditional painting and its inherent dialogue (and harmony) between emptiness and fullness. Dal:um's beautifully balanced and expansive music is defined by inspired dialogue and creative paradox. Silence and expression. Contemporary and traditional. Fullness and emptiness. Similar and different.