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Artist profile: Lucid Fall

I posted up a song, “Les Miserables,” from Lucid Fall‘s new album this week for the Episode 7 Will It Snow For Christmas recap, which got me once again marveling at how wonderfully composed his songs are. The track has a Part 2 sung by a woman, and the two fit together as two halves of the same story. They’re not simply lovely songs, but also lyrically as touching as they are musically; the verses have a poem-like quality.

“Les Miserables” Parts 1 and 2 share the same name with Lucid Fall’s fourth album, which was released only two weeks ago and is already topping the pop and indie music charts. I’ve been a fan of Lucid Fall for a few years, but I think this fourth album really takes the cake. His songs sometimes sound simple and placid at first listen, but there’s often something going on under the surface. Take a listen.

The two versions of “Les Miserables” are beautiful on their own, but put together, they tell a story that takes it to a new level. Part 1, sung by Lucid Fall himself (aka Jo Yoon-seok), is a story from a man’s point of view — a last monologue to the girlfriend he has left behind. Part 2 tells the story from her perspective.

Lucid Fall – “Les Miserables” (Part 1) [ Download ]

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

                    The day I left you
That afternoon
I can’t forget your face
Trying to stop me
a cry burst from you
on that early summer street
 
The rain sang
the street’s sadness
Time goes on again
The rain has stopped
 
The slowly growing sound
of soldiers’ steps
The flash of a sword
Dwindling time
 
Tiring people
collapse one by one
The night shines with clear moonlight
Wanting to see your face
my body grows cold
I want to live a little longer
 
Though time flows on
your face in my memory
won’t erase
 
One small blade of grass
couldn’t sprout
in this cold spot
I’m left here alone, forget me
Even if you can’t see me now
forget me
  그대 떠난 그날
오후 그대 모습
잊을 수가 없네
날 말리다 터져버린
그대 울음
초여름의 거리
 
비를 부르던
거리의 슬픔
시간은 다시 지나가고
비는 멎었네
 
서서히 밀려오던
군화 소리
대검의 빛
줄어드는 시간
 
지쳐가던 사람들
하나 둘씩 쓰러져
마른 달빛 비치던 그 밤
보고 싶었던 그대 모습
내 몸은 식어만 가요
조금 더 살고 싶어요
 
시간이 흘러가도
기억 속의 그대 얼굴
지워지지 않아
 
작은 풀 하나
피지 못했던
차가운 여기 이자리에
홀로 남은 날 잊어 줘요
이제는 볼 수 없어도
그대는 나를 잊어요

 
Though the setting is never explicitly stated, two things come to mind: the first, more literal reference is to Hugo’s Les Miserables, but the second is a story closer to home, 1980’s Gwangju Massacre, in which citizens rose up to rebel against the military dictatorship. (Note: That’s my read, not an official explanation.)

Lucid Fall – “Les Miserables” (Part 2) [ Download ]

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

                    On that day you left
that afternoon,
I can’t forget your face
The crowding people
sound a battle cry
in the frozen street
 
I went outside
to search for you
but no matter how I cried out
for you, it was no use
 
The slowly growing sound
of soldiers’ steps
The flash of a sword
People growing distant
 
Dying people
fall frozen
The bright city loses its light
An unbelievable scream
Now I must believe
because you won’t come
 
Although time flows on
your face in my memory
won’t erase
 
Though my eyes can’t see
Though my ears can’t hear
in this cold spot
I know you’re here
You still cause me tears
How can I forget you?
    그대 떠난 그날
오후 그대 모습
잊을 수가 없네
밀려들던
사람들의 함성소리
얼어붙은 거리
 
문밖을 나가
그대를 찾아
아무리 그댈
불러봐도 소용 없었네
 
서서히 밀려오던
군화 소리
대검의 빛
멀어지는 사람
 
죽어가던 사람들
싸늘하게 쓰러져
빛을 잃은 빛나던 도시
믿을 수 없던 비명소리
이제는 믿을 수 밖에
그대는 오지 않으니
 
시간이 흘러가도
기억 속의 그대 얼굴
지워지지 않아
 
눈이 보지 못해도
귀가 듣지 못해도
차가운 여기 이 자리에
그대 있음을 알고 있죠
아직 날 울리는 사람
어떻게 그댈 잊어요

 

 

Lucid Fall – “빛” (Light) from his third album. [ Download ]

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Lucid Fall (the 34-year-old Jo Yoon-seok) was born in Seoul in 1975 and grew up in Busan. In 1999, he graduated from Seoul National University with a degree in chemical engineering, then did graduate work at Sweden’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology, earning his master’s degree in 2004. He did doctorate work in Switzerland and won notice for his dissertation in 2007; he earned his Ph.D. from Switzerland’s Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) for bioengineering in 2008.

Jo debuted in 1998 with modern rock band Misuni [미선이], where he was guitarist and vocalist. They put out an album Drifting, then followed with Drifting Again 1.5 in 2001. The group disbanded due to various reasons — military enlistment, study abroad — but got back together in 2008 for the Grand Mint Festival (one of South Korea’s largest indie/rock festivals).

Throughout this all, Jo continued to work on his music and put out several albums. His first solo album under the name Lucid Fall was released in 2001 (titled Lucid Fall). His second, O, Love [오, 사랑] followed in 2005. His third, Night at the Border [국경의 밤], came out in 2007; his latest, Les Miserables [레미제라블], was released in early December 2009.

He has collaborated with other musicians, including rap duo LeeSsang in their latest (sixth) album, as well as Toy (Yoo Hee-yeol), Kim Yeon-woo, and Park Ji-yoon, among others.

 
The first single from the new album is titled “Mackerel” [고등어], and is doing extremely well on the music charts. It is “a piece told from the point of view of the fish often found on the dinner tables of common people, whose lyrics offers them words of comfort.”

Lucid Fall – “고등어” (Mackerel) [ Download ]

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

          With sturdy fins that propel me anywhere
I can swim anyplace
In order to feed people who have little money,
I once again part the seas
 
Compared to the Seoul sirloin that costs many
ten thousands of won
I may be less tasty and smell fishy
But I know that all the while, I’ve watched
over countless family dinner tables
 
When you pick me, look at my eyes
I don’t even know how to close them
Thank you, who are so poor, for choosing me
You’ve worked hard today
 
When you pick me, look at my eyes
I don’t even know how to close them
Thank you, who are so poor, for choosing me
You’ve worked hard today
 
When you pick me, look at my eyes
I don’t even know how to close them
Thank you, who are so poor, for choosing me
You’ve worked hard today
You’ve worked hard today
  어디로든 갈 수 있는 튼튼한 지느러미로
나를 원하는 곳으로 헤엄치네
돈이 없는 사람들도 배불리 먹을 수 있게
나는 또 다시 바다를 가르네
 
몇 만원이 넘는다는 서울의
꽃등심보다
맛도 없고 비린지는 몰라도
그래도 나는 안다네 그동안 내가 지켜온
수많은 가족들의 저녁 밥상
 
나를 고를 때면 내 눈을 바라봐줘요
난 눈을 감는 법도 몰라요
가난한 그대 날 골라줘서 고마워요
수고했어요 오늘 이 하루도
 
나를 고를 때면 내 눈을 바라봐줘요
난 눈을 감는 법도 몰라요
가난한 그대 날 골라줘서 고마워요
수고했어요 오늘 이 하루도
 
나를 고를 때면 내 눈을 바라봐줘요
난 눈을 감는 법도 몰라요
가난한 그대 날 골라줘서 고마워요
수고했어요 오늘 이 하루도
수고했어요 오늘 이 하루도

 
Music video teaser for “Mackerel”:

 

Via OSEN

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Thank you dear Javabeans
interesting.

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I am seeing Mackerel in a different light....poetic

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Chemical engineers represent! :D
Lovin' his music

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I'm liking Mackerel too! It's my first time listening to Lucid Fall, so thanks javabeans for putting him in the spotlight!

How do you discover gems like that?

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I have the album and yes its good, one of the best of the year. Im so glad you posted translations, wonderful album.

I haven't been much of a fan of Lucid Fall, this year I was more obsessed with Invisible Fish and Donawhale but Lucid Fall made a good impression on me.

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I had never heard of Lucid Fall, but I checked him out just because of his name...interesting. Anyway, I'll give a listen.

A little off topic, but any news about Oldfish? This is one of my favorites I've picked up from your site.

Thanks.

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omg! thank you so much for posting this entry! i heard lucid fall from the coffee prince drama, and when you posted up the les mis song by him on the will it snow on christmas recap, i immediately started searching for the rest of his albums!

i always appreciate learning more about indie artists because i never can find information myself
thanks so much!

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i love lucid fall! your coffee prince unofficial soundtrack thing got me into korean indie music :D which is 10000000x better than korean pop. which makes me want to shoot something.

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omg I LIKE HIM
can someone get me one of these? an attractive, chemical-bio engineer & indie singer-songwriter?

thanks for the spotlight javabeans :) i've rediscovered my love for winterplay and oldfish thanks to you!

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I really love 'Mackerel;' it's really touching even as a 2nd generation Korean American. Just a note on Les Miserables: I don't think it's about the Gwanju Massacre. It sounds like a war story, perhaps in reference to the Korean War, thus the summer to winter setting in the male's point of view.

Anyway, great post Dramabeans. You are awesome for putting up such great translations.

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This is interesting! Thanks for sharing. I don't know much about Kmusic but I do like the sound of the song you posted previously.

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Lucid Fall also did the soundtrack for the movie "Bus Stop", which has one of my favorite Lucid Fall tracks, "그대 손으로" ("into your hands")
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOan3WtcyCw

And Lucid Fall singing in Toy's "투명인간" ("invisible man")
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsFZkWoXEII

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My Question!
What really is the sound of Korean music? Kpop is nothing more than a revamp mixture of American R&B, Disco, Techno, and Pop Ballads, In the case of Lucid Fall latest album we can hear post war French jazz ballads mix with Tango Argentino e.g Piano against the Accordion,
Most Dramas OST rely heavily on Western Music format, I am not complaining. But Mexico has the Mariachi, Brazil has Bossa Nova and Samba, USA has Jazz and Rock and Roll, Argentina Tango, Colombia Vallenato, etc. But whats Korean real ethnic Music sound like? Can any one help?
: O )........

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I really like the other songs, but am I the only person who thinks that Mackeral is a little creepy?

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@Amg1, I think trot (Korean pop songs popular in the '70s and '80s) is pretty Korea-specific, but I suppose you can argue that those have chanson and other Western folk and pop influences.

But here's IS (Infinite of Spring), which is trio performing a fusion of Korean classical instruments with a modern pop sensibility. (Some call it new age, but I think that term recalls a more specific, different kind of music.)

But if you're asking for pure traditional, as in classical Korean folk, here's a song on the gayageum:

Drums:

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thank you for this artist profile JB! i love lucid fall. please do more of these post in the future. too bad one of my favorite k-indie bands, MOT, disbanded. i would love to hear more about them.

Mackerel is such an interesting song. thank you for translating the lyrics for us non-korean readers.

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Thank you a Million!!!!!!
I have just fallen in love all over again.This girls are so beyond explanation. I am so fascinated by this kind of music, is like a breath of fresh air, like making a brand new dress with a thousand year old piece of Silk cloth..... Thank you so much JB... : O )

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Amg1,

I have several more of their songs posted in my old recaps for The Story of Hyang Dan: Episode 1, and Episode 2. The drama used most of IS's first album as their score. Take a listen! If you liked that clip, you may like their other songs.

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Man awesome music. It's always a treat when you do these artist profiles.

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Wow!!!!!!! That's about all I can say, it sounds like mixture of Enja/Kitaro and the Twelve Girl Band all mix into one. The song "It’s natural" sounds almost like a lullaby...just beautiful! thank you again!!!!!!! : O )

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wow, thank you for this!! this post is like a christmas present!! love these songs.

and man, he's a real smartie!!

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guh I love this man to death. he is just so adorable! 사람이었네 always gets me all sentimental and I've had Les Miserables on repeat for the past two weeks :3

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Thank you for the songs! I love them, and the singer's academic history really wows me (@[email protected])

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Wow! Thank you for letting us know about Lucis Fall. I loooveee all of the songs. Thanks again!!!!

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Les Miserables
enjoy--
http://www.mediafire.com/?ym2dxmnewa1

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Les Miserables=
enjoy....
http://www.mediafire.com/?ym2dxmnewa1
P.S rar file,,,,,

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thank you :)

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amazing!!!

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I wonder about the true Korean folk myself.

Thanks for the info JB! Amazing artist!

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IS performing a " Million Roses " Live, this is their Korean version of a traditional Russian Folk song, as they say when they travel in other country's the play also some of their native folk songs in their Korean instruments, I feel that this is probably the best interpretation of this Russian song even tough is sang in Korean the Spirit of the song remain true to the original, I been listening this son all day since yesterday,, Thanks JB, for sharing your taste of music with all your humble followers... : O )
http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMTEyNDA2NjQ0.html

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thank you... I really enjoy all your posts. Drama recaps, celebrity new etc. But I am so glad that you do new/old artist reviews, and just share with us music that you like. I really like this artist.. Thanks. you always expand my music library<3

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@Amg1: Thank you so much for sharing. I really enjoy the songs :)

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Thank you!!!!!!!!!! This is lovely. Thanks Javebeans.

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I made a drama MV using the les miserables part 1 song hope you like

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sO_jfkjIU4Y

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Thanks for this post I've heard of Lucid Fall but it was the first time I had really listened when you posted it on the drama recap. I didn't fully understand it just random words and really matched the mood I got from the drama a lover or someone close leaving someone behind for one reason or another. Now that I've read the lyrics I can appreciate it more. This man is amazing both academically and musically. Also the Mackerel song really got the tears flowing as I feel a part of me really connects to the lyrics. Really I may not be that articulate but I just wanted to express my thought not just on this post but all of your posts they are very interesting and refreshing among many other adjectives.

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I fall in love in another his song titled moonsoo's story, i really happy if u can give me the meaning or translation of the song. Everyone plis help me to understand the meaning of Moonsoo's story. Please inbox my gmail. Kamsahamida!

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