The Fifth Wave “Beach Life & Death” | “pt.2345678andstill” by Asian Glow


Matt Cruz, Media Librarian

Fifth wave emo is a marketing buzzword pervasive in the current zeitgeist of DIY. Though, chances are if you ask any scenesters what it means, it’s more than likely you’ll get an “I dunno.” 

While DIY staples like Dogleg and awakebutstillinbed occupy the fifth wave space, I’ve been increasingly interested in texturally experimental acts like the anonymous Weatherday, and Billings’ Hey, ILY. Their blend of noise pop and chiptune have created some of the most colorful and unique tunes all year, cementing themselves further as fixtures among the experimental figureheads of DIY. 

South Korean wunderkind Asian Glow has been toying with these same textures since late 2020’s nosferadoof, and even more masterfully on 2021’s Cull Ficle

After a few month gap in music output, Asian Glow shock-dropped his latest work, an EP entitled “pt.2345678andstill,” a singular track of epic proportions and heady production. 

Over the entire project’s 16 minute runtime, Asian Glow manages to cathartically weave through a dynamic, ambitious and heartbreaking collection of movements in a single, unwavering strum. 

Despite a chimeric structure that seems to shapeshift at will from intense emo breakdowns, to glitchy ambient interludes and even acid-washed slacker rock, it maintains complete dominion over its ambitious, malleable skeleton. 

With the grime caked drums of his guitar against a punchy kick, Asian glow slathers his voice in digital effects, creating this grotesque, distorted voice as he wails 


“Hopefully time just passed, mournfully time goes pass”


The furious strumming and clipped waveform allude to your last Asian Glow cut — passionate, raw, intimate, desperate.

And then at the snap of his fingers, it gets taken away from you. 

The screaming drone of noise inverts, becoming a serrated, ambient digiscape of disembodied whispering. In the blink of an eye, the entire track proposed its antithetical axis in less than 2 minutes. 


“Grayer sighs are much easier to tell where you are /

where to head, where to be leaded /

entering minds I’ve never been to /

though looking tired for no reason, /

question still remains…. /

unintelligible, yet still following.”


Yet, the pummel of woolen chords dredge over the soundscape in an inconsiderate, plane breaking plow. The dust cloud of rubble vaporizing into a vanishing point that consumes the world. 


“Still following.”


The save state reboots. 

The crystallizing chimes begin to tessellate over an instrumental, before warping into a cascading drizzle of guitar pluckage. It is here where you hear Asian Glow’s voice at its most broken, its most desperate, its most detached. 


“When blank looks filled / 

filled seems void /

inside voice fastened, filled / 

what might seemed empty /

just surging over and over /

hands are too high to /

draw them up.”


The echoing vocalizations transcend into the floor. Lowbit chirps transition into a clipping bellow, updrafted by the racing chords and increasingly energetic verse. 


“I want to.”


A jagged synth interjects itself like an alarm, before collapsing into windchimes and the dejected strums coasting on the winds of whisper. 


“Thinking about the one you care /

more wished you to be numb /

rather, hide in the shelf no one’d find.”


You’re punched in the face. All you see are stars. 


“What seemed clear keep getting faint /

digging up every grave to find any reason /

tearing books to find anybody /

broken arms with lights of humming /

to feel something.”


A codelooped, discordant drum pattern phases between imagination and reality. This druzy picture show of noise boasts movement of flourishing electronic textures, at times mirroring Atmospheric Drum and Bass. 


“All these stories you’ve been told feel like.. / 

you’re the one who put a dot someday / 

things are getter bigger, /

can’t stand by any means /

and altogether.”


Yet, in its unruly pace, Asian Glow remains unphased. He has completely detached from his sense of self, his music, his essence. The soundscape gains a metallic roof, clamming over the listener like a fog of sheet metal. As the pitch of the echoing tin rings into the distance, the chimes and guitar coalesce into a bittersweet wall of sound; crumbling before your very ears in a glitchy anatomy of its pieces. 


“One day, he’ll ask himself what makes him to be.. /

I’m sorry, this is all I could do’ /

I’m sorry, I couldn’t try my best’ /

silent times, mumbling, yet stammering /

front to back, getting harder to open door, / 

confront everyone I love.”


The brickwork falls apart, creating a vacancy in place of its missing pieces. This ambience becomes filled by noise, before collapsing into a surrealist blue screen of dissonance and rhythm. As life flashes between your eyes, rubble of the song’s previous movement rush over you like an explosion, before extinguishing in the vitriolic strumming, screamed into a vacuum. 


“Find way out above my hands. Find way out above my head”, he pleads, screaming into a kernel panic. 

In the fractured echoes, Asian Glow whispers and reminisces, creating a mechanical air-play of lyrics that despondently infect the space behind.


“It’s hard to deny that I’m not capable of anything /

still just wishing this to be over… one and one /

one I couldn’t dare was mere a part of myself /

I know it sounds dumb, but what can I possibly do about this? /

thats what I’d thought, not knowing there’s no one to answer but me.”


In a poignant reflection of his inner demons, he acknowledges and speaks to himself — and himself alone — until the deafening silence crushes him. 

Asian Glow showcases himself as a godlike tortured virtuoso. Throughout 16 minutes, he demonstrates remarkable self awareness in the construction of his universe, yet a breathtakingly effortless destruction of the very same space. Despite this, he maintains a relentless straddle over the conflicting egos not without, but because of his lack of control. 

In that lack of control, you gain a glimpse of a man controlling his universe. In that moment, something begins to change. 

You hear Asian glow not for his sound, but for who he is: A man in silence who otherwise speaks his mind with noise. Both equally, regrettably and proudly Asian Glow.