The third track on Closet Yi’s Ruminate EP, “Eternal Countdown” serves as a neat encapsulation of what makes the up-and-coming DJ stand out in a bustling South Korean electronic scene. Falling somewhere between techno’s darker, more industrial edges, IDM’s jittery, robotically precise rhythms, and UK Garage’s hypnotic, frenzied distortions, “Eternal Countdown” puts the range and versatility of this young artist on full display.
Signed to “Honey Badger Records”, South Korea’s preeminent and oldest underground electronic label, this is Closet Yi’s first EP under their banner. Her profile has been steadily rising since she released her debut EP for London-based label, “No Bad Days”, earlier in 2020, and the influence of UK 90’s garage and rave music is clear from the very first notes of Ruminate. “Eternal Countdown” takes this homage to a new, gnarled, chaotic level. What starts out as a seemingly standard UK garage beat quickly evolves into a brash, multi-layered, genre-bending stomper. Multiple earworm-y, springy acid lines are juxtaposed with thunderous bass hits and bouncy synths, topped off with what sounds like distorted yelps from a chorus of Korean children chanting in unison. This latter detail lends the track an almost anthemic feel, even as it careens into a paranoid, siren-filled lurch, with skittering hi-hats raising the tempo to dizzying, uncomfortable heights.
The sheer volume of ideas in this one track—and displayed throughout the entire EP—is impressive in itself, but it could prove too cluttered in less capable hands. Closet Yi handles all these elements without falling under the weight of her own diabolical invention, which marks a promising sign that this bold new artist not only has something to say with her wild experimentation, but she has the skill and chops to say it with panache.