Welcome to this week’s edition of K-pop Indie Gem featuring the K-indie duo Casker. In the mid 90s, DJ Lee Jun-ho created a techno compilation album Cheolgabhokseong and came up with the name Casker as the name of his “project.” Lee Jun-ho, who was a manga fan, derived the name Casker from the name of the character Caska from the Japanese manga Berserk. In 2004 when he began work on his second album, skylab, Lee Jun-ho began looking for a vocalist and was introduced to his future partner Yung-jin through a friend and the rest is K-indie history.Casker explores a variety of music genres on their albums, but if you were to label their ‘type’ of music it would best be described as electronic lounge pop music. In an interview when asked to describe their music Casker had said,
If we had to describe our music to people who have never listened to it before, we would like to tell them that they should try to focus on the melodious and the emotional aspect rather than the electronic one. Our main theme is not electronica. We believe that various feelings that are derived from personal grief, relationships and sympathy ought to be reflected in our music.
Casker gained popularity through the indie circuit and their live performances, but probably gained the most mainstream recognition for being involved in the creation of the soundtrack for the classic K-drama The 1st Shop of the Coffee Prince. They worked with their Pastel Music label-mate, Tearliner who was the drama’s musical director, to create background music and songs especially for the drama. Here’s one of their songs from the drama’s OST, the funky jazz number “Double Shot.”
Since then, Casker has appeared on several drama OSTs and participated in many compilation albums. Casker has released five of their own albums with the last, Tender, released in October 2010. Here are a couple of my favorite songs from their second album, skylab.
The third track on the album “Cat and Me” is a mellow electro jazz number with hints of Latin.
I love the fourteenth track off of skylab, “Ela (Bajo de la Luna)” a Latin inspired piece with the sound of maracas, Latin drumming and piano driving the beat. Love the MV for this song, too.
Here’s a song from their fourth album, Your Songs. The third track off the album “Your Song,” is a dreamy electronic pop track with great vocals. This a live performance of the song that Casker did at the JinAir Green Concert.
I really enjoyed the title track “Just This Much” off of their fifth album, Tender. It’s a quirky indie rock type of song with an awesome MV to accompany it.
This is just a small sampling of Casker’s music. They have six albums (one is a ‘new edition’ compilation) and two singles available on iTunes. With each album averaging 15 songs on it, there’s a lot more of Casker out there to explore if this week’s K-pop Indie Gem has piqued your interest in them. Happy listening!