If you think rock music is an art, you’ve come to the right place“People who come in here usually aren’t early risers,” laughs Mythos manager Hong Myung-hee, when asked about the store’s p.m.-only hours. Stacked with about 30,000 LPs and CDs, Mythos seems just another record shop. But on closer view, it becomes obvious why this store transcends regular fare. And maybe why Mythos visitors are primarily nocturnal.
The shelves upon shelves of CDs are mostly of the “art rock” genre, a branch of rock music that is all the more valuable for its extreme rarity. As part of progressive rock, art rock infuses the arts with rock music, usually incorporating a single theme within one album. Art rock artists hail from all over the world, an unfamiliar phenomenon since today’s rock music is usually strongly rooted in the American tradition. Some art rock musicians include Spirogyra (U.K.), P.F.M. (Italy), and Korea’s Cho Yun.
The selective handpicking of Sung Si-wan, owner of Mythos, is behind the genre’s life-support system. A former DJ for major broadcasting companies in Korea during the ‘80s and early ‘90s, he has been collecting art rock music through collaborations with other labels and his own Si-Wan Records company, through licenses obtained with other countries, and even through perusing antique records shops while on vacation to foreign locales. He has become a sort of pioneer, introducing the genre to Korea.
Surrounded by faded LP jackets and priceless rare CD sets, Mythos is truly an art rock connoisseur’s dream. “We want art rock to be known,” says Mr. Hong simply, while inserting a Latte e Miele CD into the sound system. “Why else would we be open?” “Until 10 p.m.?” I ask. “No,” he grins, “usually way, way after.”
Telephone : 02-322-6697
Hours: 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Location: Near Hongik University, Subway Line 2, Exit No. 6, Near Kookmin Bank
Web site: www.siwan.co.kr
by Kim Hyun-jung