Counter Intelligence

Sete Records

60 minsFirst aired 1 Dec 2017
Joonoo Park

The story of a modest Seoul record shop whose excellent jazz curation has made it one of South Korea’s most intriguing storefronts.

Sete Records’ owner Jihwan Yu estimates that most record shops have a stock of somewhere between 8,000 and 10,000 titles. His shop has only around 2,000 – but hearing Jihwan discuss how he’s assembled the collection, you’d imagine there’s a story behind every single one. The intimate Seoul storefront doesn’t have an enormous following, but it’s well respected by discerning buyers both inside South Korea and internationally. The focus at Sete is jazz and soul, and much care is put into the intricacies of identifying pressings and editions (one recent big sale: an original mono pressing of A Love Supreme, sourced on a Los Angeles buying trip that nearly ruined Jihwan’s finances). The store also stocks titles you’re not likely to find elsewhere, such as Korean records that aren’t widely known even within the country. Here Jihwan plays a jazz-heavy selection of Sete favorites, while detailing the fine line between the labor-of-love and act-of-insanity approach that governs running a niche shop.


Musician, producer, director and jazz aficionado Manfred Eicher is responsible for ECM, the beloved record label that’s long refused to draw distinctions between genres.


For two decades, Francis Wolff photographed every Blue Note session as the label’s official photographer.


Peep the interior of Sete Records in this music video from Korean rapper Don Malik.


Interview by Joonoo Park
Translation by Sang Hoon Lee
English voiceover by Ryan Woodhall
Produced by Jeff Mao and Jordan Rothlein
Engineered by Denis Hürter

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