Dave Hjin is a South Korean-Canadian session guitarist and singer/songwriter based in Toronto. Having recorded over 100 songs already, the artist is also branching out into production as well and you can see that in his latest EP Hideous Morning where Hjin incorporates his chops on the guitar, keys, vocals and programming. It turns out Hjin is comfortable in any musical setting, whether it's out front performing live onstage or doing behind the scenes work – he’s able to capture expressively his excitement and enthusiasm for his art form.
Hideous Morning opens up with “CSLM,” which starts out with synths. Next, some ambient guitars tie the sound together. As Hjin’s vocals came in, the atmospheric vibes of this track really came together. The shoe-gazey atmosphere really spoke to me. At certain moments in this song, the vocals also made me think of Owl City.
More ambient synths and beats come in on the arresting “DID-92.” As Hjin’s vocals arrived, the layers of dreamy swaths were\ intoxicating. It felt like I was listening to Hjin’s vocals come through a fog. It gave a very unexpected feeling. I thought this song was packed with mood and gave off a very haunting feel. There were touches of metal as the vibes got heavier toward the end when the band goes all out with a jam session.
Lastly, some warbling guitars and beats come in on “P&P-93.” The vibes felt meandering, with a sauntering groove. The tune was heavily layered in reverb. I thought the fuzz-factor was a great feature on this album, giving it a lo-fi sound that went on to really make this entire EP. There seems to be two sections to this track: one with a more subdued sound and the next is more in-your-face and adamant. I liked the “in-your-face” section better since it made the music feel more immediate to my ears.
When listening to this album I was getting some James Blake and Bon Iver vibes, especially James Blake since the music feels like a blend of trip hop, shoegaze and dream pop. I was immediately reeled in when I hit play as the music has a way of grabbing you from the get-go. Though this was a tight-knit EP, with only three songs in total, I was definitely hoping to hear more. The artist shows a whole lot of potential here and as he continues with his musical journey, I look forward to seeing more from him.
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