Korea will take its respect, one way or another. While plenty of snobbish types are still determined to chip away (or entirely ignore) K-pop’s ever-burgeoning success, the small country with the outrageously big music scene has been entwining international listeners of all types via numerous other outlets.

Say Sue Me took the international indie rock scene by surprise in 2018, with their surf rock-like brand of fun and feels gaining numerous fans, and other acts look to follow their success in 2019. Even more noticeably, the electronic scene has been continuously rising upwards, with Yaeji constantly connecting her American success back to her homeland via Korean lyrics and frequent shows in Seoul. Peggy Gou, meanwhile, hails more directly from the country, catching looks on Pitchfork and more last year.

Now, Park Hye Jin (박혜진) has stormed that very party. South Korean house makes a lot of sense for anyone who’s spent time in country: clubs run the night scene in Seoul and Busan alike, and local fans are always looking for something new to vibe out to, tiring of the constant faceless invasion of Western artists into their dance spaces.

Hye Jin represents one of the most unique voices yet discovered from her country, at least by those of us unlucky enough to be unable to peruse local venues on the regular. Released by growing Australian label clipp.art, home to an impressive slew of fantastic deep house vibes in 2018, Park is the first Korean face added to their roster, and it’s no surprise that they sought her out.

Nailing Park down is nigh impossible, and that’s surely just the way she likes it. Her hands reach energetically into the ominously psychedelic and dreamlike all at once, with a healthy smattering of hip hop influence for good measure. Even this broad consideration of her soundscape fails to capture all her disparate influences. Yet, she melds them all together so deftly that her sound never leaves the purely, simply enjoyable. She’s capable of inspiring unease and dancing feet, all at once.

The 24 year old Hye Jin is seemingly eternally restless, a singer, a rapper, a writer, a soundsmith, a performer. To say she does it all nearly feels an understatement. In a few short weeks, she’s managed to go viral off her entrancing concoction of darkwave grooves and house scorchers. It’s not in the least bit hard to see why.

Often choosing to nearly speak more than sing or rap, but in a way that never fails to consume attention, Hye Jin intones to the audience in a mix of Korean and English, largely favoring her native tongue, as so many Korean artists hoping to break on through to Western ears often do. This form of conversational singing, if you will, coats her entangling soundscapes perfectly: it’s rare for an artist so new to have already established such texture within their sound. Her refrains are usually simple, but in ways that inform and even devastate, rather than grate. Translated, opening track ‘If U Want It‘ is largely her dryly confessing, “I don’t know anything,” and dancing away the listener is free to admit, “Hell, do any of us?”

With If U Want It serving as all-too-brief of an introduction to a truly urgent new voice in house music, we can only hope Park Hye Jin comes to feel she knows enough to return to us sooner rather than later. Her first foray into international waters is nothing short of essential, for fans of deep house and exploratory electronic music alike. This is as now as it gets.