Day 11 – Crossover and World

2021 in review

1. Introduction + Best Album Art
2. Song of the Year
3. Album of the Year
4. R&B and soul
5. Rock and alternative music
6. Rap ​​and hip hop
7. Dance and electronics
8. Pop and Ballad
9. Folk and Country
10. Jazz and Blues
11. Crossover and World
12. Best Collaborative Work (January 25)
13. Rookie Artist of the Year (January 26)
14. Artist of the Year (January 27)
15. Other Recognition (January 28)
16. Concluding Remarks (January 29)

Although the traditional scene (which represents a large part of this category) did not experience a tectonic shift event like the rise of Leenalchi reoccurring in 2021, it still had plenty of quality production ranging from the vibrant Soriae to the dramatic pop-pera transformation of Ko Yeong-yeol. Of course, this category also continues to collect some of the best contributions from tango, opera, classical, new age, reggae-dub, Tibetan mantra, pansori, afrobeat, etc. in 2021.

The “Next 10” lists and honorable mentions are sorted alphabetically by artist name.

2021 Crossover and World Spotify Playlist is here and also embedded below (note that Spotify is particularly lacking many works in this category):

World’s Best Crossover & Album 2021

Jung Jaeil – Psalms

A serious, almost unbearable weight weighs on the volume and the mix of the album. The performance of the Budapest Scoring Orchestra and Choir is deliberate yet powerful, soaring and at times striking with precision as in “His Days Are Like a Passing Shadow”. Jung Eun-hye’s voice is haunting as she moans, shakes, and even sobs in “Be Not Depart from Me.” In what might be the most moving album of 2021, the specific trauma of the 1980s Gwangju Massacre is woven through the screams of electronic vibes and Christian hymns and Jewish lyrics, becoming a timeless prayer.

The finalist

Circle SB – 유사과학 (Pseudoscience)

A humorous, even sly energy abounds in SB Circle’s riffs and beats. Subversive structures continue when expecting a stop and rush when looking for a slowdown (“Fan in the Room” being the worst/best offender), sax and gayageum generate shy and playful (but complex) melodies , and even the titular concept is to poke fun at conspiracy theories and quackery in various ways. It’s the most delicious traditional crossover in years.

Next 10 (alphabetical)

Aleum Lee – 시의공간 (Poetry Space)

Great violin player – great!

Dakini Space – Voice of Tara

Echae String Quartet – 팔레트 (Palette)

Geomungogari_Lyra – 시집 (Poetry)

Jeon Jin-hee – Breathing

Jung Mi Jung – 운김 (Remaining Spirit)

Koh Sangji – El Gran Astor Piazzolla

Lee Jaram – Composition 1

Sunji Lee – Oscillations

World’s Best Crossover & Song 2021

Jung Jaeil – Memory

From the unstable depths, the refrains of “memorare” – “remember”, an imploring prayer for protection and intercession – rise first in a mournful tumult, then soar once more in an exultant modulation; and the climax melody finally cradles both at once. The dull voice that fades in the denouement is a plea to never expire, a meaningful conclusion to this dedication song. Even in an album as heavy and dramatic as Psalms, “Memorare” is distinguished by its vision.

The finalist

Sunji Lee – Let It Flow

Just as we get used to the pulsing raindrops and intriguing bass, a carefree piano steps forward, plinking and ringing in an eerie atmosphere. This shape-shifting melody transports us through an increasingly exotic soundscape, eventually morphing into a synthesizer and encountering thunderous percussion and sequencer dizziness. It’s the experimental spirit of Sunji Lee in unbridled form, transporting us to an acidic land.

Next 10 (alphabetical)

Dongyang Gozupa – Arcade

Han Hee-jung – In Silence

Kimsora – Landscape

Koh Sangji – Double Concerto – Tango

Lee Heemoon OBSG4BS – 아라리-아리 아리-I will (Arari-Ariari-I will)

Machaal – 회전하는 나무 (Wooden Carousel) (Feat. Lee Heemoon)

Park Jiha – Path of Light

Roots Redeem – 백학 (Future Crane)

SB Circle – 밀실의 선풍기 (Fan in the room)



Earrang – 여기가 대구! (It’s Daegu!)
Fusion Gugak Soriae – 사계_그대들의 페르소나 (Four Seasons_Your Persona)
Han Hee-jung – 공간반응 (space reaction)
Heewoo Jung – Everything fills everything
Hyojin Park – Mindfulness I – Time
Hyojin Park – Mindfulness II – Sanjo
Kim Hyo-young – 세번째환생 ‘류’ (3rd Revival ‘The Flow’)
Ko Yeong-yeol – 초월 (Unlimited – Prelude)
Lee Heemoon OBSG4BS – A
Mashaal – 마찰시험 (friction test)
Mollang – Free Music Group ‘Mollang’ Vol2
Seojungmin – Youtopia
Sia – Color the Kahlo
Sriley- 30
Korean group id – Korean group id
Youngjoo Lee and the Astronauts – Life


2nd Moon – Estelle
Aleum Lee – 시의공간 (Poetry Space)
Baneungjeom–태평가 (Swing Point)
Bidam – 일출 (sunrise)
Large Violin Player and Lavender Blue – Mucho Gusto
Great Violin Player – 10 mins (10 mins) (Feat. Siaseeds)
Great Violin Player – 파랑새 (blue bird)
Coreyah – 사랑의 근본 (The principle of love)
Dakini Space – Legend of the 21 Taras
Dakini Space – Voice of Tara (Green Tara Mantra)
Dosi – 요운 (worrisome cloud)
ESP – Gaya DNA
Ear – 아 목동아 (Ah, Mokdong)
Earrang – 여기가 대구! (It’s Daegu!)
Echae String Quartet – 어항 (Fishbowl)
Fusion Gugak Soriae–움찬 (Vibrant)
Gayageum Ensemble ModernGeum – 도라지 (Doragi)
Geomungogari_Lyra – 시의 숲 (Forest of Poetry)
Haepaary – 경포대로 가서 (Go to GPD and then)
Heewoo Jung – Absence
Heo Yoon-jeong – 밤꽃 (night flower)
ID:Earth – Cave
Jung Jae-hyung – Sentence Dance (Feat. Qim Isle)
Jung Jae-hyung – Feather of Spring
Jung Jae-hyung – The Wave
Jung Mi Jung – 꽃풀 (A flowering plant)
Jung Mi Jung – 나르샤 (fly)
Kim Hyo-young – 눈물 (Tears)
Koh Sangji – Decarissimo
Haerang Korean Traditional Music Group – 비나리 (Binari)
Kyungso Park – 춘앵 (Chunaeng)
The Poem – Waltz in the storm
Lee Heemoon, Heosongsewol, Nomnom – 제주나돈데 (Jeju and the Island)
Lee Jaram – The Death of Choosun
Lee Jaram – Lazara Theme
Leenalchi – 여보나리 (Please Don’t Go)
Lucia Choi – Stair Winding
NST & the Soul Sauce – Walkthrough
NST & the Soul Sauce – 너무뿌예 (Puye)
Noon – 새매 (Sparrow Hawk) (Feat. Do Yeon Kim)
Numori – 취한다 취해 (Drunk Drunk)
Omar and the Eastern Power – Htalen
Omar and the Eastern Power – Sunshine
Queen – 도깨비방망이 (Dokkaebi Staff)
Circle SB – 사카린 (Saccharine)
Circle SB – 피톤치드 (Phytoncide)
Shindrum – Unconditional Love
Sonia Choy – 별 (Star)
Soorin & Yu Hyeon-sik – Wander
Sunji Lee – Crack
Sunji Lee – Dawn Song
Sunji Lee – Swell
Tell a Story – 요즘 나의 밤 (Those Nights)
Third Stone – 역병 (Plague)
Vidan – 한의지가 (The scent of Korean medicine)
Wonsun Cha – End of monsoon
Woollim – 나는섬 (floating island)
Woon Jung Seo & Jhey Lee – 애월가 (Moon in My Heart)
Youngjoo Lee and the Astronauts – The Real Beauty
Zanhyang – 바람의 언덕 (The Wind Hill)

Translations of the lyrics by the author. Bugs Music artist profile and album cover images.

Read our past series:

2020 in review

2019 in review

Retrospective 2018

Retrospective 2017

Retrospective 2016

Retrospective 2015

Retrospective 2014

Retrospective 2013

Retrospective 2012

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