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In Korean wilds and villagesformat: CD | catalogue: sonig 77CD | year: 2009
Produced by Andi Toma / Mouse on Mars
Sonig is proud to present the debut album of dogr, a young, New-York-based American artist who is skilled with instrumental expertise, artistic conceptualism, and an unworldly vocal virtuosity. With his debut, he finds a mesmerizing way to comply with unheard musical ideas and conducts most-satisfying webbed experiments, not only for the sake of a great art being discovered or riotously exploited; but for the sake of clear and beautiful language, accurate in its contraction, while original in its downright musical quality. Moreover, dogr never loses his curiosity nor his beatnik bare experimentalism. The production of Mouse on Mars’ Andi Toma adds an analogue thrill to the spiraling epic record that is In Korean Wilds and Villages.
So who is the young man behind this faunal alias? David Michael DiGregorio is dogr. He started in coastal New England with a piano teacher who gave him lots of Bach to play. At a young age he created harmonies using a a four-track mini-cassette tape recorder, his voice, and a old Roland JX-8P with programmer. Growing older, he moved on to 16-mm experimental filmmaking and electro-acoustic composition, using a Bolex camera and a Serge modular synthesizer.
During his years in Amsterdam, his time was spent with head and ears full of swollen voices, mostly his own, multiplied; inspired in part by his earlier time in a big gospel choir, and his interest in the Korean operatic form called pansori, in which one singer assumes the role of the narrator, different characters in the story, and even the sounds of animals and nature. After many experiments using delay and loops to create massive vocal textures, he began telling the stories of others through his own music.
Many of the pieces comprising In Korean Wilds and Villages come from the in the room series of musical/visual/theatrical storytelling performances, conceived by artist Sung Hwan Kim. The collaboration resulted in music featuring the sound of many voices made by one. Many of the instruments used on the album are also instruments and props used in the performances, for example, the broken, wheezing harmonium on "things are more exciting than they are"; the bell sound recorded in Seoul on “fiks it up”; and the makeshift slide guitar of "grows on top of the old one" and "o how this city has changed".
Many songs on In Korean Wilds and Villages are pieces in which melodic phrases wind into journeys. The text pulls the listeners out to the realm of story-telling in a macroscopic sense; meanwhile, the winding melismata and grains of voice, like detailed veins under the skin, draw the listener microscopically into the music as it is in progress.