What does Karin Park sound like?
An impassioned dark ambient artist able to channel the sensuality of Kate Bush with the angst of a raging Georgian choir.
The review of Karin Park – Private Collection
After the first listen of Karin Park’s ‘Private Collection’ it made perfect sense to me that the album was recorded in a converted church. With 20 years of music behind her, Karin has been a niche cult and one I’ve only discovered over the last few years. ‘Private Collection’ is a fantastic album to work as both an introduction and an anthology. It’s a total reimagining of tracks spanning her career.
This is a very stripped-back affair. Powerful organs, dark velvety syrupy synths and evocative piano led the way throughout as the stark backdrop to Karin’s voice. This is an album that lives and breathes its atmosphere and this one is dark, dense, moody, passionate and dangerous. Tracks like ‘Opium’ revel in the space between notes and Karin’s evocative and powerful vocals. It’s like having a live concert recorded in a room just for you. The instrument choice might sound a little limited but add in the odd synth and occasional drum burst to ratchet the tension and your ears are utterly captivated.
‘Bending Albert’s Law’ moves between brooding atmospheric mellotron hues to lighter and disarming choruses that wrench at your heart. Karin knows exactly when to back off the dramatic vocals and leave you lingering and her commanding vocal performance is stunning throughout. Even when she turns to the dark ambient dance anthem in waiting ‘Tokyo By Night’, you are only one chord or note away from a dangerous turn. ‘Glasshouse’ oozes dark catharsis as the deep resonance of the kick drum pulses under all the thick organs. Elsewhere ‘Blue Roses’ is a rasping, venomous and guttural piano and vocal rendition pouring emotion into every nuance of the song. Gothic, mystical and utterly haunting – it’s a standout in an outstanding album. ‘Look What You’ve Done’ leans into post-rock noise with a wall of guitar angst bellowing over all the synths. It feels grand and catastrophic in all the best ways.
As someone who doesn’t know all of Karin Park’s back catalogue, ‘Private Collection’ is a superb place to start. It sounds and feels like a connected body of work. Dangerous sensuality, bloody hearts smeared across bitten lips and standing proud for yourself. It’s all here and in its purest form. This is one of my favourite surprises of 2022, from an artist that never takes the obvious route. This is possibly the most heartfelt album I’ve heard this year and I’m instantly in love with it. That Karin Park back catalogue? Consider it being bought up very soon…
Recommended track: Blue Roses
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