There’s no higher proof of love than the mere act of loving and being loved. The aching, yet fulfilling process of love in every sense and meaning of the word. However, to fully feel and grasp it with your fingertips and unravel its intangible ridges and whorls is arduous and almost impossible, yet that’s exactly what Colde aims to achieve in his newest mini-album Love Part 1.
Colde (Kim Hee-su) is one half of the indie duo offonoff with producer/DJ 0channel, where they also form part of Club Eskimo, an underground hip-hop crew created by Dean in 2015. However, after having made his solo debut last September with his first EP Wave, Colde is now under agency Wavy Seoul and wishes to shy away from offonoff’s musical style and showcase his versatility by treading into various music genres.
In Love Part 1, we see the singer-songwriter’s effort in experimenting with different sounds that perfectly accompany his thematic exploration of love. Subtlety has always been one Colde’s strengths and the phrase “less is more” shines through in the introspective and poignant discography, especially when the restricted instrumentals allow Colde’s voice and charm to do their magic with ease.
The mini-album opens with “Love is a flower”, a soft, dreamy track which is accompanied by chirping birds and melodic whistling, instantly drawing up a landscape of a quiet sunny afternoon.
Tentative and crystalline, each note is like a drop of light, with some of them whispered and some flawlessly held, hanging in the sunlight, making it a perfect entry point into his mini-album. The stripped-back instrumental also highlights the success of its subtlety. Additionally, Colde’s gentle, mellifluous humming towards the end of the track is almost enticing, inviting a meadowsweet summer warmth to bloom within the listener.
The title track “WA-R-R” is a slick and sensual R&B number that leverages on a groove-driven melody, complementing the dulcet timbre of Colde’s voice. Using a Korean onomatopoeia for the notion of “crumbling down” as the title, the song is yet another one that ties in lyrical poetry and emotion-laden vocals. It also has a laid-back, late-night R&B feel that’s reminiscent of offonoff’s style, which is something his fans can revel in.
Given the seamless flow from the first track to the last, it’s evident that the order of the tracks was carefully thought of. Perhaps Colde wants his listeners to slowly grasp the meaning of love through his musings, painting an immersive musical experience that will puts them in their inner mind. However, it is precisely through his laid-back, minimalistic style that allows him to successfully touch on all aspects of the emotion of love without being cliché or overly sentimental.
Beyond his recent mini-album and other popular hits namely “Your Dog Loves You” featuring Crush and “Poem (Shhh)”, “Please Love Me” off Wave is the song that best encapsulates Colde’s charm in my opinion. Melodic and alluring, the track makes everything feel a little hazier, a little gentler and warmer.
“Please Love Me” has this odd magic of cocooning you in a calming ocean soundscape, reminiscent of his album cover, if you listen to the track long enough with your eyes closed. His voice also carries a certain softness that clamours around your heart and tugs at your heartstrings, therefore lending itself naturally to the forlorn lyrics.
I’ll be by your side like this
From now on, please love me a little more
Look at me a little more
Please hold me once more
If you call me like that
I will sing a love song
If there’s one thing evident from Love Part 1, it’s that most of Colde’s works, be it his solo releases or works as part of offonoff, revolve around darker themes and slightly muted, subdued instrumentals. Acting as a source of comfort, his music allows listeners to escape from reality for awhile and dive into a whirling soundscape of soothing melodies and tender feelings.
Should he continue this path of manifesting lilting landscapes in his compositions with the least, this can easily be his trademark sound and solely his to own. At the forefront of a burgeoning Korean chill indie scene, we can only sit back and anticipate what Colde will amaze us next with Love Part 2.