[HOT TRACK]Under Control, Yoon Returns

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[HOT TRACK]Under Control, Yoon Returns

No look back at the history of Korean rock would be complete without taking into account the influence of Yoon Do-hyun, the 30-year-old seasoned rocker. Though the influence of rock gradually has diminished in Korea due to the overwhelming dominance of dance music and hip-hop in the 1990s, Yoon remains a prominent, mainstream rock vocalist and guitarist.

In fact, his fortunes appear to have gone against the tide. Forming his simply titled Yoon Do-hyun Band in 1998, Yoon became more successful than ever. He recently came back with his fifth album, "An Urbanite."

Instead of confining himself to making albums, Yoon has sought to follow a varied career, sometimes spreading himself too thin. He wrote songs for and starred in the film "Jungle Story" (1996), only to see it to bomb at the box office. However, his attempts to bring classic rock musicals such as "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "Hard Rock Cafe" to a Korean audience were more successful.

Yoon now fronts a radio show for Korea Broadcasting System titled "A Date With Yoon Do-hyun at 2 p.m." He seems serious about keeping rock alive in Korea, but maintaining his dedication to music is not always easy. Recently, when his band went through a shake-up with the departure of certain members, Yoon said he experienced some doubts: "Seeing some members leave the band made me feel cynical. But after staging concerts with the new members I feel inspired again."

The band's shake-up has had an energizing effect on the music. As Yoon puts it, the band has tried to create "a more sophisticated and modern sound." Yoon, whose specialty previously appeared to be shouting, now sounds as if he knows how to control his voice. Also, he has experimented, layering exotic sounds from traditional Korean instruments on top of the familiar guitar and bass sounds. The band has even dabbled in hip-hop, but with an ear for harmony. By grafting hip-hop elements - such as scratching effects - onto some tunes, Yoon has managed to come up with a sound that is rhythmic and exciting, but is still rock.

Look out for "I Didn't Know How to Love Myself," exemplary of the band's shift in sound, and "To Live in This Land," a tribute to Korea's democracy movement, with lyrics penned by the poet Park No-hae.

The band will perform from Friday to July 23 in Daehakro. For concert information, call 02-1588-1555 (Korean service only).

by Chun Su-jin

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