South Korean up-and-comer IMLAY has landed himself swiftly on our radar with the arrival of his Shurai EP.
The quickly rising star is gaining an impressive reputation overseas, thanks to his productions for massive K-pop stars, a mention by NYLON Korea for “Top 10 Best New Artists” and a nomination for Best Electronic Record at the Korea Music Awards for his single “zanzan.” Now, IMLAY proves his production prowess once again with a multifaceted and wildly impressive EP.
Shurai offers a forward-looking introduction with “Shurai (Low),” where he combines future and bass elements into one mighty package. Next, he teams up with rapper Sik-K(식케이) for “데칼코마니 (Decalcomanie),” which proves that there are no real language barriers to music. Sure, you may have no idea what he’s rapping about, but does it really matter with (what I hate to call) an instrumental like that behind it? Surely not.
The halfway mark of Shurai incorporates stunning vocalist Laura Brehm, who shows her versatility on the most organic track of the album. A simple, but catchy, melody is the perfect soundscape for Brehm’s atmospheric lyrics. IMLAY continues the vibe with an Anna Yvette collaboration, providing a sparkly backdrop for another set of beautifully executed vocals.
IMLAY closes it out with a bang. Metallic synths drop into beating drums for “Nine Tails,” resulting in a cutting-edge trap drop that rivals a lot of current releases by major artists. Unfortunately, the EP soon comes to an end, but “Rule The Fire” featuring YESEO couldn’t have closed it out on a more memorable note. As a blend of fluttering percussion, mind-altering basslines and dazzling vocal samples, it’s clear with his final touch that he deserves all of the recognition he is receiving.
It’s only a matter of time before IMLAY finds similar success stateside, and when that day comes, it will be very well deserved. Listen to his Shurai EP below.