Who: A spirit and his friend from the woods
What: Folktronica, Neo-Psychedelia, Dream Pop
Where: South Korea
Autumn seems to always drift up on me, like a blanket folded on top of your sleeping body. You have no recollection of when it arrived, just the faint joy as you eventually realize it’s there. It dawned on me this year watching my girlfriend head out the door last week, noting to myself that she was wearing a flannel, and so it must be cold. I should throw on a jacket myself.
“Wait, it’s cold outside?”
I cocked my head to the side, looking out the nearby window, and wouldn’t you believe it, there it was. Leaves bleeding edges of orange, shadows creeping together under an overcast sky and the humbling feeling of smallness before the earth’s natural cycles. Another year, another time for reflection. It’s not too unfamiliar to how Mid-Air Thief creeped up on me. During a routine search of new music and cutting edge stuff from Korea and Japan, which I’m prone to doing on lazy autumn days, I stumbled upon this. An album which seemed to be gaining a fervent underground noise. Passed between online music fans like a secret note under a teacher’s watchful gaze, hoping not to spill these magical beans they’d discovered out back. It’s contents too pretty and significant to let outside, lest the horrifying gaze of outsiders taint them.
Listening to it, under the hazy shadows of mountains and trees that line against my girlfriends apartment it was easy to forget I was listening to anything at all. As I often do, I’m simply observing the world and thinking about my day and my life, but then, before you know it, you catch something new that you are thinking about. The blissful harmonies and psychedelic compositions unraveling around me. I’m thinking about music. Before you even know it’s happened Mid-Air Thief is there, nestling into you.
Sprawling outward into all directions, blending freewheeling Animal Collective neo-psych with passively beautiful Books-style folktronica. Equal parts startling and soothing it captures a fragile existence of paper and folk within synthesizers and bubbling drum machines. Crisp lines and finger picking underpin everything with such a dreamy folk fundamentalism, that even as the details and sonics are pulled apart into a confetti of aesthetics, it remains.
As online music sites sprint and sidestep to catch up to this startling new underground gem before it becomes second hand news, I’m finding myself more lost in the dream then chasing the dragon. What would it even mean for music as gentle as this to “blow up”?
A hint though, if you are looking for something to write about him before it’s all been taken, check out his interview where he shouts out Lil Ugly Mane, I mean that think piece writes itself.