Sunday, September 25, 2011

Shin Joong Hyun

Here's another gem I unearthed in my ordering marathon this weekend. Beautiful Rivers And Mountains: The Psychedelic Rock Sound Of South Korea’s Shin Joong Hyun 1958-1974 comes to us by way of the prolific Light In The Attic label out of Seattle. This beautifully packaged 2LP showcases a diversity of highlights from singer, guitarist, arranger, and producer Shin Joong Hyun's work. His early music was inspired by the American jazz and soul he heard on US Army radio in South Korea, but as his career progressed, the psychedelia of 60's rock took hold of his sound. The resulting mix of influences from Korean pop to Jimi Hendrix and LSD culture gave way to one of the most unique pop sounds of the time, despite being far from Western ears. And as the story goes, in the early 70's The Korean government became increasingly concerned about Shin psychedelic offerings and lifestyle. To test his patriotism, dictator Park Chung Hee asked him to write a song in praise of the president. Shin refused and instead wrote Beautiful River and Mountains about the beauty of Korea. Over the next years he was harassed incessantly by the police until in '75 he was arrested, locked up, and tortured. Serious consequences for rock and roll.

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