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Meet Beat Culture, The 18-Year-Old Beatmaking Prodigy Who's About To Take The World By Storm

Having only begun experimenting with production in February of 2011, Sunik Kim never imagined the rapid and overwhelming response he would receive for his experimental, atmospheric music under the moniker Beat Culture. And by overwhelming response, I mean the kid had his US debut at Brooklyn Bowl opening for Killer Mike and DIIV, following a tour of Korea.

On top of all this, the 18-year-old producer is about to leave his native Hong Kong for the halls of Yale for his undergrad. It’s enough to make any kid’s head spin. Still, Kim remains a focused and level-headed adolescent despite his burgeoning exposure. Over a cup of coffee, he explained the most prominent influences of his sound founded in Gold Panda, James Blake, and Neon Indian. His debut album, Goldenbacked Weaver, which he released at age 16, exposes the experimental ambitions of a maturing beat maker. His second release, Tokyo Dreamer, which dropped in April of this year, maintains his momentum and promises that Kim will be one to look out for in the days to come.

In regard to his past albums, Kim explains, “My first records were chillwave. People stuck me into that. I don’t think that’s what I do at all, especially now.” Now, as he evolves with the exposure to, and expectations from, a wide audience, his music too seems to be maturing into what he more fittingly calls “experimental pop.”

His first full-length album, Forgive, will be released in October by Japanese label Art Union/PLANCHA, who also released the debut LP of Brainfeeder’s Tokimonsta.

“The album is a reflection of the new sound I’m starting to explore. The connotation of ‘forgive’ is generally positive, but then there’s an implication of something a bit darker or less obvious behind it. I’m starting to look into more subtle sounds and feelings and the new material has a bit more restraint and lyrically is a bit more melancholy.”

From his upcoming album, check out “Orange” (below) featuring Sweden’s NIVA. If you like what you hear, help support him press his album to vinyl here.

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