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aespa hopes to move on to 'next level' with new EP

This photo provided by SM Entertainment shows K-pop girl group aespa. (SM Entertainment)
This photo provided by SM Entertainment shows K-pop girl group aespa. (SM Entertainment)
K-pop girl group aespa unveiled its first EP "Savage" Tuesday, expressing hope to move on to a higher level with the album directed by Lee Soo-man, the chief producer and founder of major K-pop agency SM Entertainment.

"We're so thrilled and nervous to release our first physical album," the group said during an online press showcase event for the album set to be out at 6 p.m. "We'll show you aespa upgraded one level with 'Savage,' so please keep an eye on us."

The four-piece act -- whose members are Karina, Winter, Ningning and Giselle -- debuted last November with the single "Black Mamba" and instantly shot to stardom.

The song made a splash on global music charts, landing on the Billboard Global Excl. US chart and topping streaming on the Korean music chart run by China's QQ Music. The song's music video also became the fastest debut music video by a K-pop act to reach 100 million views on YouTube.    

"Next Level," a single released by the group in May, also topped various music charts and secured over 100 million views on YouTube for its music video within only 32 days of its release.

The forthcoming album "Savage" is also on course to become a hit with its preorders already topping 400,000 copies as of Tuesday.

"We were surprised too. We didn't expect it would be received so well," Karina said, expressing thanks to fans.

The album consists of a total of six tracks of various genres, including its title track "Savage." Five others are "ænergy," "I'll Make You Cry," "Yeppi Yeppi," "Iconic" and "Lucid Dream."

The main song depicts a story that unfolds in what is called "SM Culture Universe" where its two previous hits "Black Mamba" and "Next Level" are based.

The girl group aespa members grow while communicating closely with their avatars that exist in the virtual world, or "metaverse."

But Black Mamba, an evil being, attempts to disrupt the connection between the four members and their avatars, leading the members to venture out to wilderness to find Black Mamba.

"They finally met Black Mamba in wilderness. A character named 'Nævis' also appears in earnest to help us," Winter said of the story behind the new album.

As for the music videos of the songs, she said their use of computer graphics effects and animation on top of their stories based on the "SM Culture Universe" will help fans immerse themselves more into the videos.

"I recommend you to see the music video for 'Savage' after watching those for 'Black Mamba' and 'Next Level" like a film series," she added. (Yonhap)
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