Jinnwoo - Strangers Bring Me No Light
LP - limited run
The release follows Jinnwoo’s critically-acclaimed debut ‘Your Baby’ E.P. and a series of singles - the E.P.’s title track, ‘Solo Man’, ‘You Should Be Feeling This Elliott’ and ‘I Am, I Am, The World’s Oldest Man’ - all released in 2014, collectively garnering coverage across The Guardian Guide, The Line of Best Fit, Clash, 405, For Folk’s Sake – among many others –and accumulating in Jinnwoo being named one of The Independent’s ‘Faces to Watch 2015’.
2015 saw perfectionist Jinnwoo lay the finishing touches to ‘Strangers Bring Me No Light’, an album which has been years in the making and began with Jinnwoo hand-picking collaborators to work with, as he explains: “I wanted to make an album that was interesting to me so I included musicians that I appreciated and admired on the record.” As a totally unknown artist Jinnwoo found most of collaborators online - such as Malcolm Middleton and Alasdair Roberts - and emailed them demos with all of them agreeing immediately to work with this strange and exceptional new talent. Others were met on the live circuit such as Kyla La Grange, “she invited me to sing on her record (‘Cut Your Teeth’, 2014, Sony) so we swapped and did a vocal for each other”.
A few were met through Jinnwoo’s work as a photographer, he shot the artwork for Kami Thompson’s (The Rails) solo album ‘Love Lies’ (2011, Warner Music UK) and they remained firm friends and collaborators. Working with established musicians on the record gave Jinnwoo a needed distance from the lyrics and meaning of the songs, “when you hear someone else sing about your life in your words, it sort of distances you - that's quite nice for a while.” Jinnwoo’s work has been described aptly as “confessional folk” (The Guardian) and he himself has described ‘Strangers Bring Me No Light’ as ‘autobiographical’, with the artwork a self-portrait and the lyrics an outpouring of personal experiences and lingering emotions from his 20’s.
Jinnwoo’s confessional reel is one sung in a voice so distinctive no adequate comparisons can be made, but the story-telling style of Bob Dylan and the fragile delivery of troubadour Michael Stipe have been raised as a starting point. His sparse atmospheric folk-soundscapes, laced with ghostly string arrangements and his exceptional acoustic guitar work, offer a kind of ‘spooked’ ‘gothic’ folk that sounds like no other.
‘Strangers Bring Me No Light’ is nothing short of a seminal record and Jinnwoo a true original.