KOREA GAYOJE: TOKIMONSTA / DUMBFOUNDEAD / KERO ONE
in association with City Parks Foundation's SummerStage and MeanRed
Saturday, August 11, 2018
6:00 pm - 10:00 pm (Doors open 5:00 pm)
SummerStage, Central Park
Rumsey Playfield, Manhattan
Admission is Free
(First come first served, rain or shine)
Breaking boundaries, bringing the beats: Korean-American musical forces rep lyrical jazz rap, defiant hip-hop, and atmospheric electronic hits
For the second year running, KOREA GAYOJE (‘music festival’) returns to New York’s most celebrated outdoor festivals, City Parks Foundation's SummerStage, to bring out an evening of musical masterminds -- Kero One, Dumfoundead, and TokiMONSTA-- who have broken boundaries of genre, geography, generation, and gender to just “make [dope] music.”
Exemplifying the focus of SummerStage: music diversity, and community, join us for this iconic event that brings together a lineup of Korean-American artists who will get you from low-key grooving to straight up jumping!
Korea GAYOJE is presented by City Parks Foundation’s SummerStage and the Korean Cultural Center New York, and in association with MeanRed and the Korea Tourism Organization of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Korea.
SummerStage Website: https://cityparksfoundation.org/events/korea-gayoje-tokimonsta-kero-one
Kero One, a Korean-Californian rapper, producer, and DJ is considered one of the leaders of the jazz-hop and lo-fi sub-genre in the 2000’s. After releasing his self-produced single “Check the Blueprints” in 2003, he quickly found underground fame in Japan for his niche jazz hiphop sound, eventually selling over 75k copies of his various albums and singles there. Five solo albums and many tours later, Kero crafted a following amongst fans of mellow and jazzy beats all over the globe. Furthermore, Kero also attracted the attention of some of music’s biggest moguls including co-signs from Stevie Wonder, Will.I.Am, Aloe Blacc, and Epik High and later went on to produce for Korean artist Park Kyung of Block B, where their track "Ordinary Love" became the #1 song in Korea. Staying true to his roots of producing feel good Jazzy beats paid off for Kero. In 2017, Forbes Magazine wrote a feature piece on Kero’s music, calling it “a grand exercise in mixing modern sensibilities with old-school, funk-inspired sounds”. It was through this experience as a producer Kero realized his new mission; to remain true to his style as an independent solo artist while producing on the side for major vocalists worldwide. To stay updated on Instagram, find him @keroone.
From the battle grounds to his latest moniker Parker, Jonathan Park (a.k.a.Dumbfoundead) in less than a decade has built a legendary history in the LA hip-hop scene. At the mere age of three, Park’s mother smuggled both him and his sister past the Mexican border and nestled the family deeply into his Koreatown stomping ground. While he grew up listening to all genres of music, the hip-hop scene in the nineties was no doubt bustling – and through that Parker found his initial hip-hop clique that clicked and clacked from a Macarthur Park community center to Project Blowed, an open-mic workshop in south central LA.
Parker developed his skills with an exponential rise to local and even national acclaim with everything from rap battle videos with views in the millions, to spotlights on shows like Late Night with Carson Daly, most recently his curator role in one of K-town’s most happening parties: Spamneggs alongside Far East Movement and Tokimonsta. Dumbfoundead is also an up and coming actor with supporting roles in Joseph Kahn’s "Detention" (2011) and Season 3 of "Power" (2016).
Jennifer Lee, better known by her alias TOKiMONSTA, is a producer and label owner who’s been an instrumental part of building the West Coast’s reputation as a beat-making cultural destination.
As TOKiMONSTA, California producer Jennifer Lee’s charted a fascinating career over the past seven years, and Lune Rouge is her exhilarating next step. The third proper long-player from TOKiMONSTA is both a logical progression of her sound and a surprising left turn from an artist that rarely ceases to surprise. A smoky, patient, and altogether lovely collection, Lune Rouge mixes modern sensibilities with old-school sounds to make for a heady brew of moonlit music.
Lune Rouge is the culmination of all the experiences I've encountered so far," Lee explains the album's genesis, which she started work on in late 2015 before being diagnosed with a rare neurovascular condition called Moyamoya. A year later, after two major brain surgeries and extensive rehabilitation, Lune Rouge was finished. "During its creation, I faced some of the most difficult and uplifting moments of my life. Seeing myself at the edge of my own mortality and how I chose to move past is a story told in this album."
Lee’s work as TOKiMONSTA gained widespread recognition from the very start: her 2010 debut album, Midnight Menu, saw release on Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder imprint and cemented her reputation as a formidable presence of the then-emerging West Coast beat scene. 2011’s Brainfeeder release Creature Dreams EP expanded on Midnight Menu 's palette with successful forays into vocal-led cuts thanks to the presence of regular collaborator Gavin Turek; the 2013 LP and Ultra Music debut Half Shadows found Lee exploring darker shades of her sound with guests such as Kool Keith and MNDR in tow.
Following Half Shadows ’ release, Lee collaborated with artists like Jessie Ware, Anderson .Paak, and Kelly Rowland, while also putting out several records on her own Young Art Records imprint that served as practical blueprints for the dusky environs of Lune Rouge. Mini-albums Desiderium from 2014 and last year’s FOVERE elegantly deployed pitch-shifted vocal samples to add new textures to the TOKiMONSTA sound, and in 2015 she added her capable touch to Turek’s own mini-album, You’re Invited . All these roads lead to Lune Rouge, a lush work that stands as the summation of what she’s been cooking up since Half Shadows.
TOKiMONSTA’s sound has always kept one foot in the pop stratosphere, but Lune Rouge finds her diving in with glee. Her effervescent beats serve as the perfect framework for these gorgeous songs: Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna weaves in and out of water-droplet tones and a stuttering chipmunk’d sample on lead single “Don’t Call Me.” "I'm super grateful to have created a song with Yuna," Lee gushes. "I was a fan of hers for a while, so I have to shout out the world wide web for allowing two people on different continents the ability to create together. The message of the track is really more than unwanted phone calls, but the idea of people deciding to show up only when they need you."
Elsewhere, the MNDR-featuring “We Love” serves up perfect summer vibes with aquatic synth stabs and an instantly infectious chorus. Featuring a searing vocal take from Selah Sue, “I Wish I Could” fuses the clean-sounding classicism of contemporaries like Rhye with a buzzing throb that embodies the modern cool of contemporary R&B—and “No Way,” with features from Isaiah Rashad, Joey Purrp, and Ambre, sounds lovingly ripped from the dusty glory days of 90s hip-hop. "I chose the title Lune Rouge, which translates to 'red moon', because I think people perceive it to hold ominous weight," Lee explains her thinking behind the album's title. "However, a red moon is rare and pretty awesome event from a scientific perspective and, to me, means significant change." And Lune Rouge is the latest change in her prismatic career—a testament to the healing powers of art in the face of insurmountable difficulty.