South Korea’s underground music scene has definitely been on my radar for a while. It seems like a rather young and raw scene where things are still being established and more and more artists started to come forward. So checking out some of the venues in the vibrant capital Seoul, and also seeing some of the local DJs play there was an opportunity I did not want to miss out on. The weekend started with a night at the rather cozy and small night club ain and featured some of my favorite artists from Prague – Yan and Alfred Czital from Harmony Records.
Ain is a relatively young venue of Seoul’s nightlife that has only been around for about a year, hosting events every weekend. It’s located in the popular party area Itaewon in between tons of bars and big mainstream clubs. Situated in the cellar of a bar, it is actually quite hidden from the busy masses on the party streets. Only people that know about it will find it, which is usually a good criterium for an underground club. Sadly, it might be a bit too hidden since not many people showed up last night, which left me wondering if there are busier nights sometimes. With its bare concrete walls and gloomy light it is perfectly suited for a dark, intimate techno night. The sound system was absolutely decent as well.
Unjin and Oslon were sadly not playing that night. So Alfred Czital had the honor of opening the party with his set. Starting with gentle ambient, he then carefully lead over to more rhythmic tribal sounds and patiently laid the foundation for the following hours. Further into his set he smoothly kept transitioning between lighter dub techno and more hypnotic, melodic deep techno.
Yan surprisingly changed the sound of the night and lifted the mood by changing to lighter, housey dub with a progressive energy, which got more people dancing. Without even really noticing the transitions, he also kept switching between heavier, deeper techno to smooth, dubby house. For the rest of the night they kept taking turns in the DJ booth. There was no specific concept or narrative to the set, it was more like they were giving us a nice insight into their great, harmonious track collection. The closing part of the night was especially fun, since more people had come to the club after 5am and started dancing to the energetic, groovy tracks til 7am.
Although not many people had come that night, it felt like there was a small but very dedicated and friendly community that shares the passion for techno, which made me even more curious to check out other venues in Seoul.