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2011/11/04 / monteurhulot

ALBUM // Zun Zun Egui – Katang

Earlier this year I wrote a fundamentally incoherent review of Gang Gang Dance’s excellent Eye Contact in which I discussed this year’s “Futuristic Non-Anglo-American Pop Made By Anglo-Americans,” or “imaginary world music.”

Having only heard rumors of their live prowess and their bizarre two-track self-titled single released in 2009, Bristol’s Zun Zun Egui is a band that has from my vantage point acquired a somewhat mythic aura; now they’ve done me the favor of releasing a full-length album which epitomizes the concept of “imaginary world music” far more than any of those I mentioned.

There is a connection on Zatang to the Afro-Math of Maps & Atlases’ Perch Patchwork and Dirty Projectors’ Bitte Orca, certainly a bit of Deerhoof, and in general an affinity with the great chain of British post-punk, from the Slits and Au Pairs up to Foals. What sets this album apart from the others, besides the breadth and hyperactivty of the songs (“Mr. Brown” for example, starts out sounding like Clinic taking a stab at Dengue Fever’s Cambodian rock, before morphing into a 7-minute excursion across the North Africa desert) is the Dadaist pidgin which dominates the first half of the album, a disorienting mixture of languages both real and invented, which for the most part bypass one’s verbal recognition systems. When the lyrics do settle into English for any period of time, the result is often lines like “Sexy worm, are you rebel Burma?” from the single and album center piece “Fandango Fresh.”

That songs is followed by others, such as “Dance of the Crickets,” “Twist My Head” and “Heart in a Jar,” which have longer sections comprehensible to Anglophones (the latter one can almost just imagine hearing on a radio station) but overall, the album still sounds like the freak-outs of a strange, imagined people. In this way the concept behind the music is similar to that of Harrapian Night Recordings, but Zun Zun Egui moves intercultural pastiche from the paradigm of grainy, ageing ethnographic recordings to a more contemporary setting in which those imagined people have access both to decent recording facilities and global pop sounds, no matter where they are(n’t) from.

Or you could just say that they made a really fun guitar record.

Fine with me.

Katang can currently be purchased on one side of the Atlantic, and presently will be available on the other.

t.

 

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