Zun Zun Egui: Shackles Gift

Bristol-based experimentalists keep on giving.

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Sounding like five bands playing at once, Zun Zun Egui follow their hyperactive 2011 debut Katang by letting us know they thought it simply wasn’t hyperactive enough.

Shackles Gift further fuses – or hurls against each other – free jazz, Afrobeat, no wave and countless other genres, and emerges with music that’s uncategorisable, sometimes exhausting and often thrilling. You may glimpse flashes of Beefheart, Talking Heads or Gang Of Four, but its worldview is genuinely global. Perhaps past West Country mavericks like Rip Rig & Panic or The Pop Group are still putting something in the water there. More likely, Mauritian singer-guitarist Kushal Gaya taking the band to play in that African island nation last year has added sega and reggae to the post-rock platform. Gaya sings in many languages, some made up, to complement the frenetic, peripatetic feel. If this sounds daunting, after an acclimatisation period your ears start to understand the rhythms and squalls; their logic, their directions. Zun Zun Egui are fiercely original and bold, from the jabbing, stabbing African Tree to the mesmeric loping guitar-funk of I Want You To Know. Coming into focus.

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has written about music, films, and art for innumerable outlets. His new book The Velvet Underground is out April 4. He has also published books on Lou Reed, Elton John, the Gothic arts, Talk Talk, Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson, Abba, Tom Jones and others. Among his interviewees over the years have been David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Bryan Ferry, Al Green, Tom Waits & Lou Reed. Born in North Wales, he lives in London.