The album format, in the world of Electronic Dance Music is most often a self-defeating gesture. There is, traditionally, little need for a long-players worth of club bangers and too often artists who try their hands awkwardly at variation and deeper meaning find they have too little experience and come up short, or even empty. Not so with JIN CHOI’s A THOUSAND WHALES OF LOVE. A true artist album, where the artist has so much to communicate that it didn’t even fit on a single CD. All told, 14 songs of emotion using the dance music idiom, but meaning much more.
CHOI’s previous work with ARCHIPEL, LESSIZMORE, CONTEXTERRIOR and his own PRIVATE GOLD imprint have brought this subtle yet forceful sound into a view, but with WHALES there has been extra care afforded to create a vivid multicolored and multifaceted sonic picture for the public to enjoy in places other than just the dancefloor. The album encompasses such disparate genre influences as ambient soundscapes (album opener DON’T LOOK INSIDE), 60s soul (SHE’S GOT GOLD), 80s neon disco soundtracks (eponymous cut A THOUSAND WHALES OF LOVE), smoky and moody blue-note jazz (CIRCLES-DARK MIX), and his often played with tough yet subtle minimalist (but not minimal) house excursions. Truth be told, to pick just a few songs to highlight the album would be a fallacy, as they all fit together into a larger whole.
A THOUSAND WHALES OF LOVE is an album that says so much without saying it through a bullhorn. Full of shrouded emotion teased out of detail, in unlikely forms and places. A treatise on a subject that must be close to the artist’s heart but is left up to interpretation by the listener. Nothing is forced, but a lot is gained. My interpretation: that one can hear the events lived in JIN’s life over the time since he moved to bustling Berlin and changes were abound. At times melancholic and at times hopeful, at times subdued and at times ecstatic.
A THOUSAND WHALES OF LOVE is a proper album by a proper artist. Drink it in.