Educate Your Ears: Jaeho Hwang

‘Non-self 비자아’ is the first EP from South Korean musician and visual artist Jaeho Hwang. The six-track EP, out now via Chinabot, explores Hwang’s sense of identity in the digital age as refracted through the Buddhist concept of anatta, or non-self—the belief that there is no unchanging, permanent soul or essence in living beings. Jaeho draws from the dark, stuttering beats from London’s experimental club scene—harsh industrial sounds recall no-wave’s minimalist deconstruction. His use of traditional Korean instruments within this context, like the piri bamboo flute, or the stringed kayagum, recast traditional textures into modern form. 

On Sad Relationship, Jaeho samples the famous 80s South Korean pop ballad of the same name. The song glitches like a memory, warped and torn by an electronic tumult, and haunted by the original’s sentimental melody. His first single, also titled Non-self, is accompanied by a music video made by Jaeho, who is also a motion graphics designer. The video features 3D-scanned girls—who might represent Jaeho himself—shifting and glitching constantly to the music. “Mapping textures on 3D models in a 3D programme is used as a metaphor for giving shells over souls in reality,” he says. “Our existence is transient, evanescent, inconstant. This music video invites viewers to take part in a delusion that is filled with the aesthetic of the 3D and digital.”

‘Non-self 비자아’ is available to buy now via Chinabot as a cassette or as a pill-shaped USB stick—a nod to the transformative, escapist properties of the digital realm. Get it on Bandcamp here