Seoul-based duo Salamanda have released their third EP titled ‘ashbalkum’, which is out now via the New York label Human Pitch. Uman Therma and Yetsuby proceed to display their aptitude in leftfield ambient music productions, evident in the EP’s ten spellbinding tracks.
ashbalkum’s namesake is derived from a Korean phrase for realising that what you’ve been experiencing all along was actually a dream. This ironic turn of events is then musically manifested into minimalist yet playful compositions, brimming with soothing sounds of mallet instruments, the subdued pounding of percussions and intricate play of synths.
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Prepare to come across an array of uniquely familiar resonances as Salamanda stay steadfast to their pleasingly simple sound. Starting out your 39-minute journey into re-discovering reality is the minimal dub techno track ‘Overdose’. As you glide across the alluring audial voyage, track-by-track seem to naturally progress. Soon enough you come across the middlemost track, ‘Living Hazard’, infused with hauntingly beautiful layered vocals that soar atop a background of soft melodies.
As you continue your soar through Salamanda’s radiant sounds, another four tracks pass and by the time you realise, the final tune is in play. ‘Catching Tails’ brings us back down to Earth with its playful children’s voices and plunky music box-like tones.
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The duo keeps a dash of playfulness throughout showcasing their dexterity, maintaining a balance between transcendental tunings and danceable downtempo beats.
All in all, ashbalkum is the duo’s expression of surreality on a whole new frontier. However, they refuse to remind us just how much fun they had creating it. Obviously.
Experience the liminal sounds yourself; purchase Salamanda ‘ashbalkum’ here.
Amira Waworuntu is Mixmag Asia’s Editorial Assistant, follow her on Instagram.