Indie Mixtape 20: Korea’s Mid-Air Thief Is Unlike Anything We’ve Ever Heard


Maybe I’m not well-versed in the genre of “electronic-infused folk,” which is what a press release calls Korea’s Mid-Air Thief, but I truly have never heard anything quite like Crumbling. The tracks — which feel more like beautiful soundscapes than anything else — range from three minutes to ten and are sung entirely in Korean, but that doesn’t deter a native English-speaker from sitting back and taking in one of the most uniquely spectacular releases so far this year.

In honor of Mid-Air Thief’s recent signing with Topshelf Records to re-release Crumbling in America, they offered up insights on drum machines, dumplings, and Andy Shauf in our latest Indie Mixtape 20.

What are four words you would use to describe your music?

Acoustic, Electronic, Korean, Pop?

Years from now, how do you hope people will remember your work?

I think people will probably forget it along with most things. I think it is perfectly fine to be forgotten!

What’s your favorite city in the world to perform?

I haven’t performed anywhere at all, so I don’t know. Sorry.

Who’s the person who has most inspired your work, and why?

At the moment it’s Recondite because I’m listening to EC10 and it’s really amazing, but most inspiring person changes a lot frequently!

Where did you eat the best meal of your life?

A dumpling/noodle restaurant 5 minutes from where I live. The chef is a master and I eat there almost every day.

What album do you know every word to?

The only one I can think of is Richard D. James’ Album because there are very few words on it.

What was the best concert you’ve ever attended?

Probably The Bad Plus or Andy Shauf. Both shows had my feet floating.

What is the best outfit for performing and why?

I haven’t performed so I don’t know. Sorry! Maybe a nice clean suit?

What’s the last thing you Googled?

“Studio Electronics C2s 중고”

What album makes for the perfect gift?

Probably Joni Mitchell – Court and Spark.

What artists keep you from flipping the channel on the radio?

When I listened to radio, maybe the Spice Girls?

What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?

My sister letting me stay at her house for weeks when she was really busy with work.

What’s one piece of advice you’d go back in time to give to your 18-year-old self?

Work harder!!!!!!!

Where do you hope to travel in the near future?

Mongolia because it seems to be really quiet there. But I’m just guessing from looking at pictures on the internet.

What is the best music venue in Korea?

At the moment, it’s a venue called 게토 얼라이브 in Seoul. I saw really good improvisation music performance there last week.

What is the single best instrument to play?

A drum machine probably. The reason for that answer is that I just received one and it’s really really fun to play with.

How did you learn how to play music?

I took piano lessons when I was young. It wasn’t much fun. Very boring story but that’s how I started! Then I learned a song from my Dad on the guitar. Started using software called Cakewalk Sonar. Yes!

What’s the last show you went to?

Andy Shauf in Seoul. It was one of the best shows I’ve been to.

What movie can you not resist watching when it’s on TV?

Maybe Kung Fu Hustle or The Shining.

What would you cook if Kanye were coming to your house for dinner?

The food I cook never tastes that good, so I will probably order some delivery or ask him if he’s fine with going to a restaurant that’s really close.

Crumbling is out now on Topshelf Records. Stream/download it here. Want more? Sign up for the Indie Mixtape newsletter for weekly recommendations delivered directly to your inbox.