파란노을 (Parannoul) - After the Magic Music Album Reviews

파란노을 (Parannoul) - After the Magic Music Album Reviews
On the South Korean artist’s astounding third album, the past and the present, the real and the fake dissolve seamlessly into surreal, maximalist pop music.

At a time when even the most modest indie rock projects are expected to provide a captivating origin story and annotated talking points, the still-anonymous South Korean artist Parannoul stated just the following about their new LP: “This album is not what you expected, but what I always wanted.” What we actually know about Parannoul hasn’t changed all that much since 2021’s To See the Next Part of the Dream: They live in Seoul, are open to collaboration, though intensely protective of their privacy, and express what they truly want out of music through seemingly incompatible forms. In Parannoul’s hermetic world, hyperreal synth presets achieve the same uncanny dissonance as dream-pop’s gauzy guitars; emo shares a language with shoegaze; bedroom pop sounds alternatively like one person on a laptop and the soundtrack at a planetarium laser show. At any given point on their astounding third album, After the Magic, Parannoul can be described as any of these styles, all of them, or maybe even none of them—a seamless synthesis that provides a direct line to its author’s unique worldview even as they reveal nothing else about themselves. 

Parannoul’s recent split LPs and singles suggested that the production might slowly recede out of the red into softer, more shimmering tones. Yet none of it served as proper preparation for the optimism revealed in the bracing, crystalline clarity of After the Magic. More so than any guitar-based act, the dramatic tonal shift recalls Oneohtrix Point Never reinventing their timbral vocabulary from his murky masterpiece Replica to the spotless, supernatural R Plus Seven. It’s still “electronic music,” though instead of letting ghosts in the machine warn us about technological entropy, Parannoul’s “fake” and “sterile” instruments create a curious warmth, if only from our memories of associating computers with creative possibility.

The first sound heard on opener “북극성 (Polaris)”—and indeed, quite a few songs on After the Magic—is an acoustic guitar, presumably not one of the MIDI presets used on To See the Next Part of the Dream. Before long, Parannoul fills the space with the most obvious of ersatz sounds: spotless cocktail piano rolls, slap bass, synthesized saxophones, all knowingly used as prompts to remember an older, more innocent era of technology. Yet in its slippery reference points—ambient music of the early home-computing age, shoegaze’s drum’n’bass software update, various phases of J-pop incorporating state-of-the-art electronics—After the Magic collapses the nostalgia wormhole, implying that, someday, 2023 will also be remembered as the good old days. 

While Parannoul haven’t completely ditched the super-saturated guitars that made their past work sound like M83 and Smashing Pumpkins, the most unexpected change on After the Magic is how they recall the spirit of those projects at their most buoyant. Whether the miserablism of the past was a defense mechanism or a conscious stylistic choice, what remains in its absence is Parannoul’s belief that any emotion worth experiencing has to sound as overwhelming as it feels. The magic is not in the mundane, but in big elemental feelings—turning 20, falling in love before you know how to describe it, literal and figurative space travel, the resurrection in every sunrise, and the endless possibilities of a summer night. Or, as the lap-pop lullaby that closes After the Magic suggests, just watch the fireworks. 

And where Parannoul once rendered depression and self-loathing as imposing monoliths, After the Magic’s panoramic music sprawls towards the horizon in every direction. “북극성 (Polaris)” teases at some conventional structure and the late-’90s merger of alt-rock and electronica—itself another fleeting ideal for guitar-centered music. But halfway through, as Parannoul marvel at the possibility of transmitting a crush from the cosmos, the stereo field is flooded with strobing neon synth effects, as if they were abducted by a toy UFO. 

The singular and surreal mood of Parannoul comes from the paradox of the music’s creation: arena-sized anthems made in a small room, the sound of 20 people in a recording studio borne of a computer, the feeling of community made mostly by one person. The enormous suite of “Parade” sounds like an arena anthem cocooned from the outside world. While getting swept up in the incapacitating rave rhythms towards the end of “개화 (Blossom),” Parannoul let out an impassioned howl found nowhere else on the record; even an English translation of the lyrics (“I wish I could not wake up”) can’t confirm whether they’re in agony or ecstasy. The volcanic second half of “도착 (Arrival)” imagines how Billy Corgan would have constructed a Siamese Dream-style guitar symphony in 2023—in complete isolation, their voice at the center of countless tiny overdubs stacked like kindling until the mix combusts. 

What are the intentions behind Parannoul’s decision to remove their own ego or personal narrative from After the Magic? Even the elusive Burial eventually got doxxed, so perhaps one day we’ll find out. But the effect of their monastic approach isn’t to keep people out, but to extend the space for inner exploration—to float in a state of half-remembered bliss, or to sit in uncertainty, questioning whether all of this momentary joy can be trusted; to indulge in the most alluring promise of nostalgia, revisiting familiar scenes and sounds and ending up with a different outcome. For all of its stunning sound design and genre alchemy, none of this works without the effect captured in every piano line, every enveloping blanket of guitar fuzz, every pristine K-pop melody delivered in Parannoul’s heavy-lidded sigh. It’s an album that might make one hour of our lives so powerful that we spend the rest of our days trying to remember it. 
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
파란노을 (Parannoul) - After the Magic Music Album Reviews 파란노을 (Parannoul) - After the Magic Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on February 09, 2023 Rating: 5


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