For whatever the accolade is worth, Parannoul has been the premiere Korean shoegaze artist for some time now, with his three albums garnering increasing praise, up to and including last year’s After The Magic, which was one of the few examples of the genre to crack year-end lists despite 2023 being the year “The Shoegaze Revival Hit Its Stride” and “TikTok Has Made Shoegaze Bigger Than Ever”.
But the release I found more interesting than Magic – and I like Magic quite a bit – is the accompanying live record After The Night, which was recorded a couple weeks before Magic was released and got its own official digital release last March. And it’s so interesting to me because the artist who is Parannoul has remained officially anonymous for his whole career and is a committed bedroom recording artist heavily reliant on MIDI for composition and recording, so the fact that he still took the stage to perform his work with a full backing band – and does it so well – is something else.
But the centerpiece of the performance comes not from Magic, but the epic final track “Into The Endless Night”, which was released as a single in 2022. The original version clocks in at almost ten minutes, but here it’s stretched out to over 45 – forty-five – somehow without becoming tiresome. Instead, it just builds and builds and builds, passing transcendence somewhere around the 20-minute mark and just becoming something else.
This single-camera live recording of the performance isn’t the most dynamic, but it’s cool that it exists and certainly preserves his aura of mysteriousness for those of us who weren’t in Seoul last January.
And for reference/comparison, here’s the original nine-and-a-half version of the closing track: