Review by Nick Manduley

June 16, 2021

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Internationally-based music collective Blu Soju independently released their debut EP 1-800-BLU-SOJU in May 2020. The EP, which puts forth an eclectic sound fusing styles from RnB, neo-soul, hip-hop, and other genres, is the creative spawn of a collective of artists and producers spread across three cities: Los Angeles, Boston, and Seoul, South Korea.

“Through our art, we aim to uplift passionate creators and redefine the current industry model,” says Blu Soju co-founder and Head of Management Olivia Thomas. “We are a community where creatives support creatives.” Blu Soju consists of the producers Jkron, JSONG, and Voel in collaboration with the artists Saya, Nathen, Loocie, Heesu Yu, and Valerya.


The EP springs into action with the introductory dial tones of the title track. "1-800-BLU-SOJU" features audio samples from each member speaking in their hometown slang or native language. “This is Blu Soju,” is what the listener hears as the track transitions seamlessly into “FWF,” featuring producer and artist Jkron. As the beat pulses the track along, Jkron executes his bars with speed, deadly precision, and immaculate flow.

The releases presses onward with “Poor Connection,” featuring artists Heesu Yu and Valerya. The atmospheric RnB vibes and infectious, soulful vocal performances offers some dichotomy against the track that preceded it, while still offering the motif of sampled dial tones. Artists Jkron and Nathen circle back with “Maybe You Were Right,” which is driven by sublime guitar licks over mid-tempo beats against melodic vocals and soaring harmonies.

The EP winds towards its end with “House” featuring Saya. The slow beat and grooving bass melds seamlessly to warm synths and Saya’s shimmering vocals. Her vocoded vocal melodies towards the track’s mid-section cultivates a euphoric sonic atmosphere unique from the rest of the album. 1-800-BLU-SOJU draws to a close with the upbeat pop vibes of “Make Time For You,” which consists of a collaboration between all artists and producers within the collective.

1-800-BLU-SOJU is currently available on all major streaming platforms.

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Nick Manduley is an aspiring music journalist and musician from Bradley Beach, NJ. He is currently an intern at Relix Magazine where he helps produce and curate online content. Since 2016, he has provided guitars and vocals for the local punk band Drive, Kid. Drive, Kid released an EP and a full-length album in 2018, and are currently recording their sophomore LP.

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