Zun Zun Egui, “African Tree”

Amelia Pitcherella

Bristol’s Zun Zun Egui have honed an exuberant sound that catches on immediately, but it’s hard to imagine a genre tag catching on as easily. They’ve been branded “free range rock,” but even that doesn’t quite do justice to the sonic pallet they’ve cultivated. The initial project of Mauritanian guitarist and singer Kushal Gaya and Japanese keyboardist Yoshino Shigihara, Zun Zun Egui pick up cues from no wave, Ethio-jazz, and Afrobeat, among countless others.

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They’ve teamed up with producer Andrew Hung of Fuck Buttons for their upcoming sophomore LP, entitled Shackles’ Gift. The second single off the new record, “African Tree” brings angular guitar patterns in close contact with spacey synthetic textures and racing percussion. There’s a lot to take in, with big, lively sounds crossing each other as the track blows through its series of dancey hooks. Marching-band drums and heavy electric guitar blow into an off-kilter section featuring Gaya’s dynamic vocals and branch from there into a compelling refrain colored by a rich array of keyboard notes. Through the hooky melodic lines and a funky breakdown that ushers in a wave of fresh instrumentation, Zun Zun Egui keep everything under incredible control—it all feels precisely orchestrated, each note falling right into place. The sound that results is irresistible.

Shackles’ Gift will be available January 26 via Bella Union.

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