|Byul.org makes experimental ambient and electronic music with catchy pop hooks and lyrics sung in or processed from their native Korean. Byul.org is a collective of artists, graphic designers, fashion designers, and musicians who claim they are poets and drinkers. They also claim that they will do anything but murder for cash. It’s sort of difficult to say what they are; they’re not really a band, they’re not really a magazine, and their CDs have never really been released as official albums, but as supplements to their magazine/art book publication Monthly Vampire. Not to mention that the Monthly Vampire isn’t even really monthly at all… We guess that’s why they stick to the expression ‘drinkers’ to describe themselves. Who cares, anyway, they’ve been the coolest guys around the Seoul underground for ten years now, or at least they’ve pretended to be, hosting various events and performances to showcase their live performances.Burnt Toast Vinyl first learned of the South Korean band Byul.org through their contribution to the elegant, but overlooked 2001 film Take Care of My Cat. It was released in the US in late 2002 and on DVD during 2003. Matthew Stone (Soporus, Saxon Shore) saw the film and made sure to pay attention during the credits to find out who was on the soundtrack. For nearly two years, Stone began to track down everything he could find from the band through file sharing outlets since their material had never been released in the US and only rarely released in their native South Korea.
After finding a few tracks from a kindly Korean over Limewire, Byul, as they were initially called and means Star in Korean, became the subject of legend and lore in the btv camp. Over drinks, we would often wonder about the band and if we could ever meet them or do a release. Then, in 2005, we discovered the newly created Byul.org website. The band renamed to put distance between themselves and a K-pop star and started to put out information about their music and releases. We were in contact as soon as we found the site and began to discuss collaborating.
Soon, large parcels of releases were exchanged. It turns out that there are several Monthly Vampire releases that are the creative outlet for Byul.org, a truly artistic and music organization. We all felt that we were on the same wavelength and planned out a future release.
The initial plan was to make an LP for Europe and the U.S. The problem was finding the time to make a proper album that felt right and represented Byul.org. As additional magazine publications and Byul.org tracks were released during the five years that passed, the album was always part of the plan. Now, Burnt Toast Vinyl, Byul.org, and Club Bidanbaem decided to make Secret Stories Heard From A Girl In An Opium Den the first official album internationally and domestically. The tracks were selected from the compact discs supplemented in the irregular publication ‘Monthly Vampire, A Magazine’ (which is not really monthly at all) and from various EPs.
The double-jacketed LP has 14 tracks on it, including the track ‘A Promise’, which is not included with the CD. The CD is a single audio disc with 14 tracks on it, including the track ‘Idiots’, which is not on the LP.
Byul.org began as a loose group of friends who occasionally had drinking sessions together. They were young and foolish back then, which made them brave. Out of nowhere they started drawing sketches for a magazine, in which they put in rough records of our friends. In turn, the magazine helped them find even more friends. Secret Stories Heard From A Girl In An Opium Den is a collection of stories and sounds from such activities. And Byul.org are still making things together with old and new friends as foolish drinking buddies.