No one makes music quite like Yaeji. The meditative dance project of Kathy Lee, the roots of her intoxicating fusion house and atmospheric dream pop are scattered between Seoul, Atlanta, and Long Island. The latter in particular forms the foundation for Lee's DIY Brooklyn beginnings, which were set to reach their apex in 2020.
Following the release of breakout singles like "raingurl" and "passionfruit," 2020 was to be the year Yaeji embarked on a 26-stop tour across North America and Europe. That of course has been postponed due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus.
While the tour is undoubtedly on hold for now, there is no stopping Yaeji's full-length mixtape, WHAT WE DREW 우리가 그려왔던. Released via XL Recordings, the meditative singer and producer joins the likes of Arca, Thom Yorke, and King Krule in creating a project that actively defies trends, painting Yaeji as singular voice in the world of house music.
Signaled by "WAKING UP DOWN," a deceptively chill banger, WHAT WE DREW 우리가 그려왔던 follows suit, presenting a transfixing dichotomy between Yaeji's expansive musings and flawless club-ready production. While this has remained a defining quality for the Korean-American artist, this mixtape marks the first instance of widespread collaboration.
Over the course of twelve tracks, we are introduced to the ludicrous raps of Lil Fayo, trenchoat, and Sweet Pea in "FREE INTERLUDE" and the existential points of reflection of Victoria Sin and Shy One in "THE TH1NG." The result is a project that is yes, defined by Yaeji's unmistakable approach to dance music but ultimately arrives as a dance-inducing recollection of herself and those she calls family.
In Yaeji's own words, "Each track is almost like a snippet of my life, a look into my diary or something, where it's reflective of how I was specifically feeling during that time." It is impossible not to feel something as WHAT WE DREW 우리가 그려왔던 moves through its introspective dance tracks, ultimately reaching its conclusion in the wistful "NEVER SETTLING DOWN."
Therein lies Yaeji's unique gift. Plenty of producers and artists can you make feel something, but few can make you feel clashing degrees of euphoria and sincerity with such effortlessness.
Listen to WHAT WE DREW 우리가 그려왔던 below: