Thursday, November 15, 2007

Duk Koo Kim

As you can see from the plethora of posts today, we are doing our best Ryan Adams' impersonation in terms of prolificness.

Tuesday, November 13th marked the 25th anniversary of one of the most controversial boxing matches in the history of the sport when Ray Mancini and Korean Duk Koo Kim battled in a 15 round match for the Lightweight championship of the world. In what was considered a slugfest, Mancini knocked out the Korean champion in the 14th round. The most memorable and unfortunate part of this fight occurred in the following days when Kim fell into a coma and died 5 days later from injuries sustained in the match. After the fight, boxing eliminated the 15 round fight.


What does this have to do with music? Well, it so happens that one of my more favored bands, Sun Kil Moon, led by enigmatic singer-songwriter Mark Kozelek, has a song entitled Duk Koo Kim. Although I did not know the back story of Duk Koo Kim until this week, it only added to the masterpiece that is Duk Koo Kim. Not for the faint of heart, the song meanders for 14 minutes (not coincidentally the amount of rounds Kim sustained punishment) through a range of emotions and scenes. At times desperate, at times hopeful, at times dreamy and ethereal, Kozelek masterfully takes the listener down this winding path while relating our own mortality to the sad and tragic death of the young champion. The music is virtually 3 songs in one. The first 5 minutes contain the lyrics of a desperate, hurting narrator that is facing impending death. As the songs continues, the next three minutes consist of a repeating chorus, a yearning for his one love to return just one more time. Around the 8 minute mark, the audible lyrics slip away and at around the 9th minute, the song changes again. This time it slows with the picking of acoustic guitars entering the forefront. A stark contrast to the first 8 minutes of crunchy and electric guitars, these acoustic guitars transition the listener into the calmness and tranquility of approaching death, similar to the experience of the coma that struck Kim. The remainder of the song moves from the acoustic guitars, slowly creating another jumble of sounds but this time with a more ethereal feel than the first 8 minutes. Finally, in the last 1:30 of the song, the music is deconstructed again, slowly trickling to bells at the 10 second mark with abrupt silence hitting at 5 seconds. At this point it seems that the narrator has left the dreamworld between life and death and finally entered death.

So yeah, it's safe to say I like this song alot. I'm not sure I know of any other song that consists of a more meaningful 15 minutes of music in terms of every lyric, arrangement, note seeming to have a purpose for being there.

Enough of my rambling. Here's the song for you to check out for yourself.

Sun Kil Moon -- Duk Koo Kim from Ghosts of the Great Highway [buy here]

For good measure, here's another great song off of Ghosts of the Great Highway. Believe me, you'll like it.

Sun Kil Moon -- Carry Me Ohio

In other SKM news, the band's website announced that their new album, April, will be released in, believe it or not, April. Woohoo!

BK

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just excellent music. Such an underrated artist.

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