Park Hye Jin’s house music transforms your room into an emotive, prismatic dance floor | Music Review | Chicago Reader

Park Hye Jin’s house music transforms your room into an emotive, prismatic dance floor 

click to enlarge Park Hye Jin

Park Hye Jin

Courtesy the Artist

South Korean producer Park Hye Jin makes evocative house music for late nights. On her new EP, How Can I (Ninja Tune), her vocal delivery and production are poised and searing, building on the template of her 2018 debut, If U Want It. On the EP’s first track, “Like This,” she accompanies a swell of synth pads and percussion with a repeated line about how she’s opening her eyes, as if she’s been in a hypnotic trance. While If U Want It featured the scorching kiss-off “I Don’t Care,” Park takes the art of rejection to the next level on “No,” when she switches from Korean to English—and from a breathy murmur to a piercing, remorseless declamation—to tell someone to “shut the fuck up.” She’s equally frank on “Can You,” despite describing conflicting feelings; as she vacillates between singing “Can you be my baby?” and “I fucking hate you,” the barreling kick drum seems to further unsettle her already tortured mind. Park’s diverse musical palette has been evident since her 2018 self-titled mixtape, which incorporates snatches of funk and hip-hop, and she pushes her eclecticism even further this time around. On the footwork-indebted “How Come,” the most notable example, she adds a midsong blanket of shimmering synths to suffuse a vocal sample and a skittering beat with the emotional tension of her other work. No matter which mood or style she’s trying to invoke, Park transforms whatever space you’re in into a prismatic, makeshift dance floor.   v

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