Image by Junwook Mok
In 2019, Peggy Gou unleashed Starry Night upon the world. Released via her own label Gudu as a part of the Moment EP, the minimal house track was at once effortlessly cool. With it’s melodic bass and infectious piano riff, it became a massive breakout hit for the Berlin-based South Korean DJ. Gou seemed to arrive at her peak at the exact right moment for the culture. Her laidback, poetic ‘K-house’ music which harkened back to Italo, disco and funkier iterations of the genre was startlingly refreshing in the age of tech house dominance, and her position as a female DJ who embraced her culture rather than rejected it in favour of assimilation made her all the more captivating. Following the release of Moment, Gou has stayed relatively lowkey on the side of new music, though has never really escaped the public eye (be it for better or for worse). In many ways, the world has been poised to see what she did next.
Nabi, released via Gudu, arrives as Gou’s first original release since 2019 and features OHHYUK, frontman of Korean indie outfit Hyukoh. The track sees Gou dive further into her eclectic mix of influences, again pasting references from across cultures, genres and eras to create her sound. Nabi flirts with hints of late 80’s funk and RnB with its lazy, poolside piano riff and vintage drum machine sounds. Gou’s songwriting reflects these styles, and once again displays her affinity for crafting an infectious hook. OHHYUK’s contribution is a new turn for the artist, who’s own work lays focus to his soulful blues vocals. Here, he lends a Gou-style spoken word passage that proves an intriguing use of his feature. Early 90’s electronica is also present, found in Gou’s slightly resonant spoken word bits and stuttering vocal manipulations. While it recalls the loungey energy of tracks such as It Makes You Forget (Itgehane), Nabi is significantly more downtempo than what has come before it, and at 98bpm there’s a subdued breeziness to the track that offers flavours of tropical house and chillwave. It feels like a natural progression for Gou’s signature retro funk aesthetic, and a satisfying comeback of sorts for the artist.
Meaning ‘butterfly’ in Korean, Gou revealed in a statement that she wanted Nabi to reflect “the sound of now – a lowkey anthem fuelled by feelings of hope, freedom and positivity for what’s to come.” Gou also announced that a follow-up single would arrive shortly, one that is expected to return to the synth lines and 808’s “to soundtrack a summer where we can all (hopefully) dance together in our thousands again.”
You can listen to Nabi below, and download the track here.