Keepers of Humanity have today released their new EP titled ‘Pansori’. Almost a concept fit within five songs, the diversity between tracks is as mind boggling as it is welcoming. The music takes such twists and turns that it can’t be anything other than original.
While you find peaks and valleys within the emotions set in the diverse styles, you will find one of those rare things in music EPs and albums nowadays: the ability to just press play and be entertained. Not just entertained, but reflective and even a bit introverted. Beautiful.
Piano-forward Alternative Rock Band Keepers of Humanity releases their second studio EP, ‘Pansori.’ The 5-track EP was produced under Rockstone Records, and is already available for streaming on all platforms beginning Friday, October 6. ‘Pansori’ explores themes of paying homage to familial roots, finding peace from the love of a soulmate, suppressing passions to fulfill your parents’ dreams, and more. The emotionally charged lyrics found within this EP urge listeners to connect with Keepers of Humanity on a more intimate level, getting to know the band’s journey and overall ethos.
The title of the EP, ‘Pansori,’ is inspired by its namesake – the ancient Korean art of rhythmic storytelling. Following that element of tradition, ‘Pansori’ is a collection of five epic songs that explore the human experience. From the anguish of a misunderstood teenager and the gut-wrenching battles of adulthood to second chances in righting old wrongs in parenthood, Keepers of Humanity is proud to share this multi-dimensional EP with the world.
Driven piano sounds intertwine with innocent-seeming vocals to create what is a theatrical, edgy, and modern EP: Pansori. This Alt-Rock release incorporates a wide range of genres including psych, blues, metal, punk, ambient and even classical music, reminding listeners of Kate Bush, Tori Amos, and Amanda Palmer.
‘Pansori’ is KOH’s first EP release under San Francisco indie record label Rockstone Records. The opening track, “Intersection,” is actually also a re-recording of the closing track of their previous album, “Freedom in the Chaos,” self-released in 2019, giving listeners a rare opportunity to witness side-by-side the evolution of the band’s sound. Producer Mat Gilbert re-imagines the song with a punch, sizzle, and polish that can be heard throughout the EP and is characteristic of Gilbert’s highly distinct production style.
Pansori’s opening track, “Intersection,” is a cry for acceptance from a young person who has been forced to follow the crowd. This track is an ode to the people who ultimately reject the naysayers, follow their own path, and emerge confident in their authentic selves.
“Intersection” is an upbeat song, introduced by Steven Bonaccorso’s killer guitar riffs, joined by Rudy Choy’s punchy bass lines. Organ and piano accents give this track texture and color while lead singer Jean Nanjo ties it all together with her sweet, girl-next-door vocals.
The EP’s second track, “No Greater,” describes the inner torment of living a lie with no way to escape. The lyrics are awe-striking and raw, containing sentiments such as, “My inner shadow parasite, it laughs while eating me alive.” “No Greater” breathes life and imagery into the suffering of a tortured soul. This song was written during one of the lowest points of (lead singer) Nanjo’s life, when the feeling of despair consumed her life and left her begging for some sense of relief. Nanjo’s vocals soar over Bonaccorso’s ethereal string tone, evoking anguish that ends with a tumultuous piano solo and powerful finale.
“Pansori,” is the third song and title track for this EP, serving as the standout storytelling component for this project. “Pansori” creates a fascinating juxtaposition of two main vocal parts across worlds and timelines – one an older male honoring his mother in the epic traditional style of Korean pansori, and the other, a young woman singing in English about the modern crisis of suppressing your own passions to fulfill the expectations of Asian immigrant parents. Life meets art within “Pansori” as the male vocals for this tune are composed and performed by Nanjo’s father, Ik Shin. Synth harp and flute accentuate the song’s ethnicity, but the backbone of this track lies within the bluesy-rock style of bass and guitar riffs from Choy and Bonaccorso.
The fourth song featured on the EP is titled, “Cosmic Mind” which creates a mini vacation from the density of the three tracks preceding it. “Cosmic Mind” is a perfect storm of conflicting imagery, sometimes whimsical and magical, and at other times, disturbing. “Cosmic Mind” is a frantic, experimental foray into madness enhanced by Nanjo’s classically-inspired piano statements. The organ lines pound over epic bass and guitar riffs from Choy and Bonaccorso, driven by powerful and relentless percussive elements. Nanjo’s vocals become increasingly otherworldly and euphoric, closing “Cosmic Mind” out with a punk-inspired explosion.
The EP concludes with its final track, “Fantasy at Daybreak,” a gentle, beautiful expression of love between soulmates. The song slightly blurs the line between a dream and reality, keeping listeners on their toes as the EP concludes. This track was co-written with Choy, featuring pulsating grooves and lush underlying beats backed by Nanjo’s pure and dreamy vocals.
About Keepers of Humanity
Hailing from San Francisco, CA – Keepers of Humanity is a four-piece Alt-Rock band made up of four friends pursuing their love of creating raw, evocative music. Due to their feminine yet edgy piano-driven sound, Keepers of Humanity’s music has often been compared to Kate Bush, Tori Amos, and Amanda Palmer. With Jean Nanjo on vocals, piano and keys; Rudy Choy on bass; Steven Bonaccorso on guitars; and Alexi Robins on drums, each member of the band brings a unique sonic element to the table.
Keepers of Humanity’s 2019 debut 8-track album, Freedom in the Chaos, transports listeners through fluctuating moods and intense emotions, all grounded in sincerity and light. Recorded and mixed on fully analog equipment, the album has a vibrant, spontaneous, and organic feel. Keepers of Humanity just released their follow-up EP, ‘Pansori’ in October 2023 under the San Francisco-based indie record label, Rockstone Records. Their EP teaser single, “Intersection,” was released on September 8, 2023 and is now available for streaming on all platforms.