With no social media presence to speak of, Mr. Thief is an elusive person online. It took me many months of sleuthing to finally get in touch with them. I'm super glad we were able to connect though, because "Crumbling" was one of my favorite albums of 2018.
Although sung almost entirely in Korean, Mid-Air Thief's cult-acclaimed album Crumbling exhibits a distinct universality, merging disparate sounds and styles into a cohesive, electronic-infused folk amalgam that tactfully blurs the lines between organic and synthetic. Listeners are led through enrapturing passages of swirling melodies underscored with eloquent plucks, strums, and bursts of bubbly glitches. Individual phrases drift into one another as if in a dream, cohered by guest vocalist Summer Soul's entrancing hooks and vocal soundscapes. Crumbling is a compelling accomplishment of both composition and production, bending as it does to its unique contours of consonance and dissonance, always resolving to a place of calm and beauty.
Jang Eunsung (Summer Soul)
"Mid-Air Thief’s decision to draw from their earlier electronic work—specifically that every sound is an instrument, and that it can be manipulated—also gives the album a sense of unpredictability, of the ground underneath constantly shifting and prompting unexpected charm. Sounds and voices constantly get warped while splashes of synthesizer splatter across songs, adding tension to otherwise pretty creations, like the tempo-flipping jaunt “Curve and Light,” and making the finale of autumnal slow-burn “Ahhhh, These Chains!”—a number starting with calming bell chimes and vocal harmonies that gradually blur together before eventually giving way to blasts of guitar—hit all the harder."