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Shackles’ Gift

Zun Zun Egui, formed by Mauritian guitarist and singer Kushal Gaya and Japanese keyboard player Yoshino Shigihara, don’t waste any time punching their way into your head space and rumbling the air waves with Shackles’ Gift. Their second album is flat-out raucous and unashamedly attention grabbing. More serious and intense than their 2011 album Katang, Shackles’ Gift forges a deeper fusion of Mauritian rhythms, driven by knock-out bass lines, fat guitar licks and thick layers of synths. The mix is beefy.

‘Rigid Man’ sets the pace and intent of the album. Not a moment is lost in revving up the urgency to make a point, it seems. Perhaps, in this instance, the point is that ‘world music’ or ‘ethnic music’ are terms that need re-thinking in light of the migration and crossover of sounds and rhythms from hugely diverse cultures. I recall Nitin Sawhney saying something to this effect at a Sensoria event a couple of years ago.

There is nothing musically rigid about ‘Rigid Man’. He is flying. ‘African Tree’ follows, requiring a leap of the imagination from Mauritius and into Gaya's musical roots. ‘Ruby’ and ‘I Want You To Know’ take a more crunch-punk tone and attitude with antagonistic scratchy guitar riffs. ‘Soul Scratch’ and ‘Tickle The Line’ are more soulful and dubby. ‘The Sweetest Part Of Life’ chants its way through to ‘Late Bloomer’, one of my personal favourites for its driving, trippy vibe and wonky guitar, culminating in ‘City Thunder’, which hunkers down to a fitting close. Hear it for yourself at The Harley on 5 March.