Lucid Fall’s pup lends a paw for his latest album: The singer’s dog Bo-hyun is the main producer on his recent project ‘Nowana’

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Lucid Fall’s pup lends a paw for his latest album: The singer’s dog Bo-hyun is the main producer on his recent project ‘Nowana’

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Singer-songwriter Jo Yun-suk, known by his stage name Lucid Fall. [ANTENNA MUSIC]

Lucid Fall’s Shetland sheepdog is credited as a producer on his new album, “Nowana.”

“Of course Bo-hyun will be paid for her work,” singer-songwriter Jo Yun-suk, known by his stage name Lucid Fall, told Ilgan Sports on Monday. “She will also be registered for the copyright of the song.

“While it may be the first time that a pet is registered as a producer, we worked together on the piece, and I tried to create something not from the perspective of an owner but from that of a friend.”

The lyrics of the songs on the album are about Jo’s time with Jo Bo-hyun, the name he gave to his Shetland sheepdog when she became a part of his life 10 years ago. The album, “Nowana,” which translates into “you and me” in Korean, was released on Monday.

The first track on the album, “Wanna go for a walk?” was made with recordings from Jo’s walk with Bo-hyun, which were rearranged using granular synthesis technology on a computer.

The sounds that Bo-hyun makes when she eats out of her bowl or when she paws the door, a sign that she’d like to go for a walk, were also synthesized to provide steady rhythms in the background of track No. 11, “Tttubeok ttubeok [Korean words used to describe the sound of footsteps] explorers.”

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Track No. 4, “Oh-My-Kohlrabi,” is one minute and 23 seconds of the sounds Bo-hyun makes when she eats the vegetable kohlrabi, one of her favorite snacks.

“Kohlrabi is a snack she frequently eats, but the sound that she makes when she munches on it is quite unusual,” Jo said. “It’s not the same sound that humans make when we eat something. I recorded the sound, did some digital work on it, and now it sounds like an orchestra of dogs eating kohlrabi.”

On that track, Bo-hyun is listed as a musician, and Lucid Fall is listed as a granular synthesis artist.

“Maybe Bo-hyun will be able to buy some more snacks with the payment from the copyright fees,” Jo said. “I guess you can call it her first step toward independence?”

Other artists, including MiiZUKi and Deepshower, helped on some of the album’s songs alongside Jo, singing lyrics written from the perspective of Bo-hyun, like on the song “I’ll Always Wait for You.”

The album is sold together with a short photo book on Bo-hyun. A part of the proceeds from the album sales will be used to help abandoned dogs at shelters, according to Jo.

While the idea of producing music along with a dog sounds novel to some, for Jo it happened because of an accident that drove him to focus on computer-synthesized music.

Jo moved to Jeju in 2014 after getting married. He began running a tangerine farm not long after, while continuing to work as a singer-songwriter. One day in July 2018, Jo injured his hand while tending to his farm. The surgery that followed involved inserting metal wire into his hand.

Since then, playing guitar was not the same for Jo.

“I had to accept that it will not be the same, so I let go of playing the guitar,” Jo said. “It actually opened the door for me to get interested in other types of music. I entered the world of computer music and working on soundscapes.”

The first track on the new album begins with the sounds of footsteps and small pebbles crunching under one’s shoes - recordings of Jo’s walks with Bo-hyun in Jeju. Melodies are added and subtracted to the eight-minute track that remind the listener of the movement of waves in the sea. The end of the track features actual sounds collected by Swedish composer Ludvig Cimbrelius at the seashore and in towns by a lake in Sweden.

Jo said he thinks Bo-hyun can recognize the sound of her barking on the album as her own.

“Ever since Bo-hyun was attacked by a white Jindo three years ago, she has become uneasy around strangers and dogs she is unfamiliar with,” Jo said. “But she seemed relaxed when I let her listen to some of the tracks we produced together.”

Jo hopes to perform a concert for dogs one day.

“It will have to be held at a comfortable time for them, which is usually their walking hours in the morning,” Jo said. “I thought maybe we can hold it at 10 a.m. and throw in a time for dog massages and lunch. Since dogs are much more sensitive to sounds than we are, we will play the music at a lower level than normal concerts. It will be a time for the dogs and their owners to enjoy music together in one place.”

Jo’s next concerts will be held at Yonsei University in western Seoul on Dec. 28 and 29, along with other singers and artists.

“I could bring Bo-hyun to the concert, but I know she gets nervous around strangers,” he said. “I know that she’d be happier hanging out with friends at home.”

Jo has long been known for his love of dogs. He wrote a song about his former dog, Moonsoo, a dachshund, for his fourth album, “Les Miserables” released in 2009.

Jo is said to have been an avid listener of music since his early years in school. He won the third-place prize at the annual Yoo Jae-ha Music Competition in 1993. Jo began his career in music in 1998 as part of a rock band but ran into some troubles with his agency.

Jo then went on to study engineering in Sweden in 2004 and then to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 2008, gaining a Ph.D. in tissue engineering. Jo’s thesis at the Swiss institute received high accolades in the polymer science section from the Swiss Chemical Society.

But Jo announced his abrupt return to music in 2009 when he returned to Korea and said he wouldn’t be returning to studying tissue engineering.

Besides music and farming, Jo also translates on the side. He has translated the Brazilian novel “Budapeste” (2003) by Chico Buarque, Ella Frances Sanders’s “Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World” (2014) and a couple of children’s books including “You are Light” (2019) by Aaron Becker into Korean.

BY HWANG JEE-YOUNG, ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]

루시드폴 ”최초로 반려견 작곡, 저작권료로 껌 사줄 것”

가수 루시드폴이 개가 작곡한 노래를 낸다. 반려견 보현과의 협업으로 만든 작품집 '너와 나'를 발매한다. "아마 개가 저작권자에 이름을 올리는 것은 처음일 것"이라는 기대감 속에 음반을 꺼낸 루시드폴은 "사람이 귀여워하는 개가 아닌 파트너로서 반려견을 바라봤다. 저작권료가 들어온다면 개껌을 사줄 수 있지 않을까"라고 웃었다.

루시드폴은 16일 2년만의 신보 '너와 나'와 반려견 보현의 포토에세이와 묶어 정규9집을 완성했다. 출판사에서 보현의 사진집을 제안하면서 성사된 작업물로, 루시드폴은 이 노래가 유기견에게 보탬이 되길 바라는 소망을 담았다.

단순한 반려견에 대한 사랑을 담은 노래는 아니다. 반려견의 여러 소리를 녹음하고 컴퓨터로 음악화하는 작업을 거쳤다. 선공개곡 '콜라비 콘체르토'는 보현이 콜라비 먹는 소리를 오케스트라처럼 가공한 곡이다. 루시드폴은 "콜라비를 간식처럼 주곤 했는데 그 소리가 정말 상쾌하다. 사람의 구강구조로는 낼 수 없는 소리가 난다. 이걸 컴퓨터로 조금 더 재미있게 변주를 해서 마치 여러 명의 보현이 콜라비를 먹으면서 내는 소리, 연주로 만들었다"고 설명했다.

이 노래는 보현의 데뷔작이다. 루시드폴은 "작곡 크레딧에 보현을 올렸다. 저작권 등록도 할거다. 당연히 저작권료도 보현에게 돌아간다. 내가 위탁관리를 하겠지만, 보현의 밥이나 간식을 그 돈으로 사용하려 한다. 일종의 독립이다"고 덧붙였다.

대중이 보기엔 '개가 작곡을 하는' 파격적인 시도이지만, 루시드폴에겐 힘든 시련의 돌파구다. 지난해 7월 농사를 하다가 손을 다쳐 철심을 박는 큰 수술을 하고 다시는 기타를 연주할 수 없을 것이라는 절망에 빠졌단다. 루시드폴은 당시를 '음악적 거세'라고 표현하며 "기타를 손에서 놓고, 컴퓨터 음악에 몰두했다. 전자음악이나 실험음악 등 컴퓨터가 많이 해주는 음악들을 찾다보니 사운드스케이프(소리와 환경의 합성어)에 대한 관심이 생겼다"고 전했다.

루시드폴은 '보현의 신상을 소개해달라'는 질문에 환한 미소를 띄며 "만 10세다. 가리지 않고 다 잘 먹는다. 문을 닫고 방에 들어와 있으면 문을 열어 달라며 유리문을 긁는 소리를 내기도 한다. 낯선 사람이나 개를 보면 매섭게 짖는다. 3년 전에 백구한테 굉장히 심하게 물린 이후로 경계심을 갖게 됐다. 그런 것을 보고 있으면 안쓰럽다"고 답했다. 또 "보현에게 작업한 노래를 들려줬더니 자기 목소리인 줄 아는 것 같다. 다른 개 소리에 경계하곤 하는데 이 노래 들으면선 가만히 있었다. 보현의 마음을 다 이해할 수는 없지만 '편안하게 듣는 것을 보고 자기 소리라는 것을 인지하고 있구나'라고 혼자 생각했다"고 감상기까지 공유했다.

루시드폴은 '개를 위한 콘서트'를 여는 꿈을 꾸고 있다. "사람의 시선으로 보지 말고 최대한 개의 시선에서 콘서트를 하는 거다. 개의 산책시간에 맞춰 오전 10시쯤에 마사지와 점심 식사까지 패키지로 하면 어떨까. 개들은 청각이 예민하니까 최대한 확성을 적게 하고 그 옆에 견주들이 함께 감상하는 형식으로 상상해봤다. 보현이가 내 노래를 들으면 1분도 안 되어 잔다. 사람도 자는데 개들은 더 잠을 잘 잘 것 같다. 그런 걸 보면 어쨌건 릴렉스한다는 의미 같아서 나중에 계획해 보고 싶다"고 바랐다.

이에 앞서 28일, 29일 서울 연세대학교 백주년기념관 콘서트홀에서 인간들과 함께 하는 공연을 갖는다. 루시드폴은 "보현이를 데려오고 싶었는데 경계심이 많기도 하고, 내가 보현이라면 집에서 노는게 더 좋을 것 같아서 나만 공연하기로 했다. 보현의 데뷔 무대는 볼 수 없게 됐지만 우리 팀 멤버들과 열심히 준비하고 있다. '루시드폴 공연'스러울 것 같다. 사람들이 루시드폴 음악이라고 하면 조용하고 잔잔하고 그런 분위기를 많이들 떠올리시곤 하는데, 그런 이미지가 싫지 않다. 그게 나의 정체성이라고 볼 수 있으니까. 이번 사운드스케이프는 기존 보여드렸던 노래들과는 다르다. 편곡도 약간 반음에서 육분의일 정도 낮췄다. 어떤 부분에 있어서는 반응이 궁금하다"고 연말 활동을 기대했다.

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