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CD REVIEW: Seo Taiji - VII Issue: Live Wire
By Steve Allat - 02/24/2005 - 05:40 PM EST

Artist: Seo Taiji
Album: VII Issue: Live Wire
CD Review: Label: Independent
Tracks: 12
Released: 2004
For Fans Of: A Perfect Circle, Prodigy, Smashing Pumpkins, Limp Bizkit
Fav Tracks: Victim, Live Wire, F.M. Business

I didn't see this coming - a musical monster from Korea. An innovative rock icon in his own country, his fans are seeking international horizons for his music and his messages. Judging by the impeccable presentation and full force of the package he's presenting, he shouldn't have any problem at all - not by me. I'm not even done listening and this is going right into my current listening rotation.

This is one of those special cases whereby the music and melody transcends the language barrier with ease. Of course I'm interested in what he has to say, but on the first listen, that doesn't even seem important. Seo has grasped the concept of creating a sound for today, something the youth of today will want to listen to, just through the music and his vocal expression. While reminiscent of many of the bands we listen to here, his work actually rises above in many ways, from the awesome production to the variety of sounds and the song structure.

The majority of the tracks were apparently written using the same 4 base chords, making the resulting songs all the more remarkable. Ranging from quiet and introspective passages and intros to all-out buzz saw guitar and drum blasts, the music alone is worth listening to this CD for. Seo himself sings, plays guitar and bass, does some of the programming and oversees production. Unlike his previous effort, however, which he performed solo, this time Seo enlists the help of some of the East's most talented, and they obviously combine for a big, big sound. It's beautiful.

Although the liner notes only allude to the content of the lyrics within, which are almost all in Korean (the occasional English word creeps in), I was fortunate to receive translations, which I was interested in reading right away. Anyone making music this interesting and thoughtful would probably also have something to say. And he does - saying himself that 'Since I'm very curious to begin with, there are many kinds of music I want to try. The new music is 'sensitive-core', which is hardcore that stresses the melodies. I wanted to bring out the sensitive side, and in particular, I expressed people's pain'. The pain he speaks of deal with Korea's censorship of outspoken artists such as Seo as well as sexual discrimination, the music industry in general and stalkers (over 80% of his fan base is female).

It'll take me quite a few listens to appreciate it all, I'm sure, but I know it'll be worth it.
I hope that western minds open up and appreciate the awesome talent that is Seo Taiji. He rocks truthfully and tastefully- and rock and truth are universal.

Contact: Christina Kim: International Publicity | Minnie Chi: Local Publicity
Website: Taijimania - Seo Taiji's most active online fan community. | Seo Taiji

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