Clazziquai Project has the distinction of being South Korea's first breakthrough electronic artist. The group's coffeehouse blend of acid jazz, house, lounge, and trip-hop initially gained traction in Seoul's trendy Apgujeong district. By 2005, it had joined the Korean wave of pop culture exports to the rest of East and Southeast Asia that began in the mid-'90s.
Clazziquai consists of DJ Clazzi (Kim Sunghoon), vocalist Horan (Choi Sujin), vocalist Alex Chun, and occasional guest Christina Chun, sister to Alex. Kim and the Chun siblings are Korean-Canadians and began collaborating while Kim was in school at Capilano College in North Vancouver. Anchored by their DJ and producer's classical training, experience as a jazz pianist, growing interest in electronica, exposure to recent J-Pop and Shibuya-kei, and longtime fondness for English prog bands like King Crimson and Pink Floyd, the group made a trio of amateur releases available online in 2001 -- Gray, Red, and Retro -- and a remix of Loveholic's "Come and Play" attracted enough attention to get Clazziquai signed to the Korean label Fluxus Music.
The group's debut, Instant Pig, appeared in May 2004. Its success was compounded by "Honjarado," a collaboration with Korean hip-hop act Epik High released on the latter's High Society that July. Even broader exposure came when Clazziquai contributed a pair of tunes to the successful TV drama [RoviLink="VW"]"My Lovely Sam Soon." "Be My Love" served as the show's theme and was featured on 2005's Color Your Soul LP. A third full-length, Love Child of the Century, followed in 2007. Clazziquai's overseas appeal has grown steadily, in part with the help of a set of three remix albums and a series of discs for distribution in Japan and Tawain. The group's polished, palatable sound has made it sought-after both at home and abroad for various collaborations (with Japan's Fantastic Plastic Machine and m-flo, for example), commercials, compilations, and soundtracks. In early 2008, Alex Chun began a solo project and Horan formed the acoustic band Ibadi. Clazziquai readied Beat in Love, their fourth LP, for a late 2008 release. ~ Jeremy A. Schmidt
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