[HOT TRACK]An Outta-This-World Sound

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[HOT TRACK]An Outta-This-World Sound

"I am an extraterrestrial, now 335 years old in cosmic age," confirms Kim Ho-jun, the vocalist and guitarist for the underground rock band Funny Powder.

In his earthling form, Kim is a 26-year-old college student. Kim assures that his two friends and fellow band members, the drummer Lee Seung-bok and the guitarist Hong Kee-sup are also from outer space, though they are a little younger, ages 311 and 307, respectively.

Though the band may be unfamiliar to mainstream music fans, Funny Powder released a greatest hits album last year - their debut album. This fun-loving band is now ready with their second album, also nonsensically titled "Best of the Best." All three members sing and claim to be the leader of the band, Kim the substantial leader, Lee, the internal leader and Hong, the true leader.

The aliens pursued musical careers because "I didn't want to study" (Kim) "it just looked cool" (Hong) and "I simply liked to listen to the music" (Lee). The band debuted on the Internet in 1997.

Remaining true to the band's originality, Funny Powder released their 2d album on the Internet first, with all 19 tracks available for downloading from the official Web site, www.funnypowder.com. Following the online release, the band will release a CD on Tuesday.

"A musician's ultimate goal is to share his or her music with everybody on earth," said Lee. "This online release is our part of the new wind of change." This is why they allow the music to be pirated, at a risk to their own profits.

Funny Powder's sound is destined to be something of a hybrid. The band members are fond of many different genres including hip-hop, techno, blues and rock. "Well, my friends who pursue hip-hop call me a rock musician and others who like rock dub my music hip-hop," Kim explained. Their new release is more focused and thus more sophisticated. With hip-hop style lyrics, Funny Powder's "Best of the Best" incorporates powerful guitar performances for a rock sound. The single, "Offside," has a driving rock style with a touch of hip-hop and a techno beat, and the blend works.

Do they ever worry about the sales of their offline release? The released album is almost identical to the online one, with the only difference being that the title track is a remix.

If the band's fate lies with people who are satisfied with the online music, Funny Powder may well return to their place in the universe, leaving those who miss their unusual sound behind.

by Chun Su-jin

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