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Here is a collection of recordings by Kathy Yaeji Lee, originally released as a pair of EPs on March 31st and November 3rd of 2017, remastered for a belated vinyl edition for the first time.
A lot has been said and repeated about the interiority of this club music - how the joyful tremor of the "Raingurl" refrain holds hands with such soft and doubtful verses. How special it is that house music so of New York can contain storytelling cultivated so far away. That repetition is born of people all over the world going out, and staying in, with this music as a compass; songs that define so many late night hangs for crews of friends, singalongs in DJ booths, contemplative 5am walks home from the club. What can get lost in that repetition, in the shifting canonization of these recordings as symbols of any one scene or moment, is what was behind the pair of round glasses reflecting so tirelessly outwards. Yaeji, an exceptional friend only at the very beginning of finding her path as a cross-disciplinary artist and collaborator. Yaeji wrote this music while going out nearly every night of the week to DJ and support her own NYC community of friends at their turns behind the decks. These tracks originated from explorations in dancefloor anonymity, growing from seeds planted by sharing her first musical experiments online. "'New York '93' was the first song I ever put out as Yaeji. It first came out on Soundcloud. I remember then every single listen was so surprising and important to me. It made me really curious to know who these people on the internet who find my music interesting are." Yaeji tracks quickly became a secret language of Brooklyn dance floors. The original demo for "Raingurl", a lovingly wonked-out version of it's successor, was passed around usb sticks like a free-for-all friendship bracelet. For Kathy, hearing these tracks played out in the club brought up mixed feelings, "I always felt a little embarrassed. I worried that the tracks weren't dancey enough." I remember Kathy's DJ set at a local summertime rave called Fourth World, a near-sunrise outdoor feast of nectarous house melodies and slippery breaks woven gracefully between pummeling techno kicks. I remember looking around at hundreds of faces staring at Kathy with what my mom calls "moon eyes." Those eyes you make at someone when their sheer loveliness can break down your ego and submit you cozily into your surroundings. "Someone told me - 'you're someone we're down to be rooting for.' That made me realize why they'd say that. I can see how what I'm doing is something that takes courage for a lot of people that have grown up as an outsider like myself." There's a lot of processing that artists take on when work that's old for them is continuously new for others; things start to lose their place in time. Music is an archive, yet can so easily feel unfixed. With this record, these 10 recordings find a warm and loving home. "This record is a symbolic reclaiming. A way to celebrate something that I wasn't able to fully appreciate in the moment. I don't think I would want to do anything else but make music-now I realize that."