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The first visit of aespa to Japan, the futuristic K-POP group presented a “new alternative”

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The first visit of aespa in Japan was at the “aespa JAPAN PREMIUM SHOWCASE 2022 ~ SYNK~” event at Pia Arena MM, Kanagawa and Yokohama Prefectures, 8/6 (Sat) and 7 (Sun). This report was conducted by Tsui-san.

Images with a bare stomach, a miniskirt or loose-cut pants, and thick-soled sandals. The average age of the fans is probably about 10 years old. The audience is full of young people dressed in the Y2K style. Unlike in 2000, when blue and pink were popular colors, in the concert hall you notice a design motif of the near future, which is rooted in metal and cyberpunk. Would you say this is a fashion that was created by fans of TLC and My Chemical Romance? There are also a lot of people who think Karina fans hold Sanrio Chromi merch in their hands. Compared to fans of other K-pop artists, the atmosphere is somewhat dark and cold, impressive in its street flavor.

Definitely, this style should reflect the magical creativity of aespa in the theme of cyberspace. The view of the world as fantasy was also expressed in a showcase in Japan called .

The metallic “aespa” logo at the top of the stage and the image of artificial plants projected on the screen. Next, a short film is broadcast at the opening, and the concept of aespa is conveyed along with the CG created. The group’s main message is “Meet Your Other Ego Avatar” and “Connect with Them Through SYNK.” The rhythm finally fades and the members appear.

The first song performed by the band is Aenergy. It’s really an indie concert, you’d think, wouldn’t you? Heavy deep bass that surprises you, and a hard melody that permeates your entire body. Pia Arena MM’s powerful club sound. The industrial sound suddenly emphasizes and then wanes, followed by not so melodic music similar to the work of the band Throbbing Gristle, mixing with modern K-pop techniques that alternate between singing and rapping to create an uplifting mood. What makes the whole process real is the extraordinary singing and vocalization skills of the members, led by Ningning. A song that raised the tension to the most deafening “sonic crackle.”

The next song Black Mamba perfectly demonstrates the dance imitating a sneaking snake, which attracted the attention of the audience last year. The clarity of the performance without the slightest stop creates a mysterious feeling, as if they are playing an avatar projected by the perfect self. However, the performance is not perfect harmony; rather, the performance is imbued with a kind of “incongruity.” Yes, the great thing about aespa is that the band creates a sense of inappropriate incongruity, and it doesn’t matter how you think about it. Strange choreography and sound effects are presented in sharp unison and add to the sense of incongruity that softly follows. The expressiveness is at times called boring, at times praised, but watching the scene, you can tell that it was sheer madness to turn the weirdness into something cool.

The amazingness of the crazy sense of non-conformity was also emphasized by the MC’s free-spiritedness. The contestants, who interacted with each other while speaking fluent Japanese, were natural, and the fans must have felt the closeness. The balance between Karina and Giselle, who spoke fluent Japanese, and Winter and Ningning, who tried to talk to Frank in Japanese, sometimes speaking Korean, allowed for a sense of unity that can create a sense of belonging to the aespa fandom.

Life’s Too Short and Lucid Dream further underscore the versatility of aespa‘s work. The atmosphere of the concert hall was filled with a sense of joy and Y2K style music.

It was the short video aired at the concert break that brought the audience to their senses. It shows a man whose SNS are full of slander, the position of the aespa band is not to look away from the negative aspects, such as anxiety and fear. Aespa is not just portraying an empty world with an ideal in darkness, but rather confronting reality and its darkness (disease).As they move toward their dream, they gain the power to reveal and portray the ugliness of reality-the power to bridge that gap while exercising their LINK to the avatars.
This is why the next song in the concert is “Next Level.” In the laser that cuts through the hall, 4 silhouettes of the artists are reflected, appearing again on stage. The next song “YEPPI YEPPI” is full of complex rhythms.

It’s sad that the end is coming,” the MC’s words echo, and the concert moves on to songs by Illusion and Savage. The loud and distorted sound in the songs makes the hard sound like a metal punch – accompanied by emotional singing and powerful rapping, and it doesn’t sound like anything inappropriate anymore. You could say that the expression of aespa lies in the stream of maximalism that has been seen in all aspects of culture lately. The band forms a great aesthetic, completing the performance with a sense of dance unity and outstanding vocalization skills. The Savage song in particular displays a unique vocalization technique that bridges the “deep” part of rap. The powerful vocalization, clearly different from the vocalization of traditional rappers, feels more pronounced than the sound source itself in the big room. What is most memorable is the sonic form that could be traced back to the “big” beats of the 90’s, and the strong vocal style close to rock and dance music, which felt like references to the past.

It was Girls that graced the end of the wonderful concert. With the words “Always We are Together,” the artists talk about the future to the fans. Not to make a final farewell, the girls don’t stop thanking the fans and doing the Gyaru Peace pose. This is also a fragment of the Y2K culture.In recent years, Gyaru Peace, born in Japan, has been revived and became popular among K-POP idols, it is very interesting that the atmosphere that was hovering in the culture around 2000 began to appear again, and it spread in different countries, mainly in youth groups, bringing some nostalgia. aespa convinced viewers that they are in the center of the modern revival of Y2K.

In the 20 years since then, Y2K has revived the modern era with new interpretations. Perhaps the most interesting and innovative way for aespa is to remake the past and move into the future, creating a new alternative to pop music, while evoking a crazy sense of nonconformity one by one. Enchanting and weird is the allure of aespa.

translator: chang

esennin_a ©

Hi! My name is Alena and now I'm one of the editors of the KJC project. My journey began back in 2018 and the dorama "Garden of Falling Stars". That's when I realized that this world, this is what I want to be interested in. I know English at the level of B2 and a few months ago started to learn Chinese) I will be glad to contribute to this project and hope that we can interest our favorite readers with interesting news in the world of KPOP and not only. See you soon in my articles 💋 .
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