Why Does North Korea Play Blade Runner-Style Music Every Morning?

Why Does North Korea Play Blade Runner-Style Music Every Morning?

North Korea is a weird country. Heck, so is Australia. But Australia doesn’t play creepy, Blade Runner-like Theremin music in the nation’s capital each morning just after dawn. North Korea does.

Photo: Getty

For many news enthusiasts, Pyongyang is an important word these days. The US military appears to be flirting with the idea of an invasion, one that would surely result in countless deaths and an indeterminate period of chaos on the peninsula. So it isn’t too surprising that some strange details about the DPRK are popping up around the internet. Digg recently featured a disturbing video of the morning routine in Pyongyang.

Every morning, for an indeterminate period of time, an almost sinister soundtrack fills the streets of Pyongyang. Nobody seems to know the name of the song or the exact reason why it’s played every day, but everyone seems to be in agreement about how goddamn unsettling it would be to hear this horror movie music on the way to work. According to Wikipedia — perhaps the least reliable source of information on North Korea — the song is called “Ten Million Human Bombs for Kim Il Sung”. An alternate translation might be “Ten Million Will Become Human Bombs”. Either way, the song is dark as hell.

You can find the song pretty easily on YouTube. There are a handful of recordings uploaded over the course of the past few years, and this fact might lead you to wonder if it’s a trick. After all, it isn’t hard to find some grim footage of Pyongyang, lay some slow devil music over it, and upload the video with a title like, “Morning in Pyongyang, North Korea. Very eerie.”

However, reliable sources back up the story of North Korea’s weird morning music. The Associated Press mentioned the morning music tradition last year, confirming its rumoured existence in the press. Then, in her book Kim Il-Sung’s North Korea, Helen-Louise Hunter describes the morning routine in Pyongyang, where rush hour peaks around 7:00AM. Hunter reports, “Morning exercise music is blared over the radio loudspeakers during this hour.” Although if that synth-y music in the video above is exercise music, North Korea must have some pretty chill but ultimately angsty exercise activities.

You might also assume that the music is a version of the North Korean national anthem, “Aegukka“. But any trained ear would quickly realise that the morning song is less imposing, if not almost subliminal. Maybe it is. Mark Fahey, an Australian biomedical engineer with a weird habit of holidaying in North Korea, asked locals about the song a couple of years ago. A Mashable report on Fahey’s recounts his story:

A recording of the almost hypnotic music that plays throughout Pyongyang everyday, except Sunday, at 6 a.m.

Fahey says he was never able to figure out what it was. When he asked his minder, the minder replied: “What music? What are you talking about?”

Maybe it’s a little bit of mind control, and maybe it’s a little bit of psychological warfare. Either way, out of context, North Korea’s morning song is a little bit rad. And then you remember that it’s playing every morning in Pyongyang, where poor people are being brainwashed every second of every day. We’re not talking Saturday morning cartoons-brand brainwashing, either. North Korean citizens have few opportunities to learn about what happens outside their country’s border, and Kim Jong-Un, the country’s dynastic dictator, makes Donald Trump’s antics seem like seasoned statesmanship. The whole situation above the 38th Parallel is far from futuristic or eerie. It’s evil.

But consider this theory: Maybe it’s an outtake from the Blade Runner soundtrack, and reality flew out the window sometime in 2003. Now that’s really scary.


WATCH MORE: Science & Health News

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

It’s the most popular NBN speed in Australia for a reason. Here are the cheapest plans available.

At Gizmodo, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.