Musician, writer and filmmaker, Sunik Kim follows up ‘The Bent Bow Must Wait to Be Released’ (Takuroku 2021) with their second LP - a deadly serious dismantling of the limits of contemporary computer music, delivered with playful dexterity and a touch of slapstick humour, a la Henry Cow.
Enlisting General MIDI to create frenetic, vital patterns of dis-organisation made up of gleeful synthetic trumpets, wry orchestral sweeps and brutal key clusters, Sunik Kim explodes a kind of simplistic sound into complex, beautifully uncertain structures. Rather than attempting to overwhelm or stun the listener into subjectivity, ‘Potential’ is ever shifting; regularly breaking form and unfolding, discreetly nibbling at the concept of the Spectacle and un-doing fatally closed systems of cyclic music.
On first listens we recalled Cecil Taylor’s Unit Structures, Stockhausen’s Gruppen, and even those weirdo attempts at making music from inside the world of Animal Crossing, Lil Jürg Frey. The overflowing ideas of Henry Cow (to which Kim dedicated a fantastically blended mix for the Wire in 2021) never drift too far from view, but contemporary counterparts lay few except for Yorkshire's most eminent polyceleratrix, Gretchen Aury, who we asked to write the liners. Gretchen’s words are unsurprisingly as extraordinary as the record itself, so we’ll close out with their words:
“Potential reads as a rare honest response to the disaster capitalist era of the apparent nearing end of the anthropocene, a cyborg music which is not hopelessly psychotic like so much contemporary and especially computer-requiring music, but lucidly possessed with rapture, pain, madness, empathy, ecstasy, torment, fragility; all those vital feelings and incentives which our atrociously depressing times seem engineered to quash and bleed out of us. This sound is a blistering Electro Magnetic Pulse wave of revolutionary hope, exclaiming defiantly that History is not over, that the future is not ‘history,’ that there is still a vast multitude of ideas and identities burning brightly and resiliently, despite the fact that they are inconceivable to the tyrannical Hegemonic axis of global capitalist tech-culture. I ask of you, listener, if you truly wish to plunge beyond The Known, give yourself over in full to this record.”