Sunday, 27 March 2016

Zun - "Burial Sunrise" (Album Review)

By: Victor Van Ommen

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 25/03/2016
Label: Small Stone Recordings


The slowness of “All That You Say I Am” or the moment in “All For Nothing” that the bass loses its raunchiness and transforms into a lush swelling of lower tones, define this record. The mood is laid back, the pretense is absent, and the vocals that drift by like a breeze on a cold night add up to something special.  “Burial Sunrise” is a record that is musically spot on as well as one that encapsulates the spirit and soul of Desert rock.

“Burial Sunrise” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). Nothing Farther
2). Into the Wasteland
3). All For Nothing
4). Come Through the Water
5). All That You Say I Am
6). Solar Incantation

The Review:

Zun’sBurial Sunrise” is pushed by serene melodies that reflect the peacefulness of a clear and vast night sky. Helmed by none other than Gary Arce (Yawning Man) and fronted by two of the most recognizable voices in the desert - John Garcia (that guy from Kyuss) and Sera Timms (Ides of Gemini) – Zun’s debut has been regarded as one of the most anticipated albums of the year. To further support this claim, there’s Mario Lalli (Fatso Jetson) on bass, Robby Krieger (The Doors) on electric sitar, Bill Stinson (Ten East) on drums, and Harper Hug (Brant Bjork) playing the role of producer as well as contributing some drum tracks and synths.

Despite the cast of musicians, I’d hesitate to call Zun a supergroup. There’s a unified vision on “Burial Sunrise,” and a unified vision is not something that is inherent in the concept of a supergroup. This makes for a sense of togetherness and in doing so avoids the potential pitfall of each contributing musician fighting for the limelight. Sure, Zun might have been put together by Arce, but there´s no sense that this is his band or that he is the boss. The sounds and grooves contributed to “Burial Sunrise” by this family of musicians therefore sound free, like everyone involved had the greater good of the record as their goal. This chemistry has resulted in an arresting mix of spacious melodies, malleable grooves, and a laid back atmosphere.

This being a collective effort is the through-line of the six songs that make up “Burial Sunrise.” Arce’s guitar is instantly recognizable in that he writes sounds, not riffs. Arce uses Zun to continue his quest in experimenting with effects, driving the mood of the record by way of hypnotic passages. His playing is underscored by a rolling rhythm section which keeps a steady push to the meandering songs, upon which Garcia and Timms are able to build. Be it the march of “Into the Wasteland” or the to and fro of “Come Through the Water,” the bass and drums are kept in the center of the mix, having the other instruments rotate around them like planets rotating around the sun. Both rhythmic and free, Zun has succeeded in capturing the psychedelic sound of the low desert.

This relaxing vibe resonates through these songs. The slowness of “All That You Say I Am” or the moment in “All For Nothing” that the bass loses its raunchiness and transforms into a lush swelling of lower tones, define this record. The mood is laid back, the pretense is absent, and the vocals that drift by like a breeze on a cold night add up to something special. Neither Garcia nor Timms have been hired to help sell this record, they are just straight up a perfect fit for these songs. Garcia’s quiet croon in album opener “Nothing Farther” is unintelligible but no less a key ingredient in the overwhelming vibe of the track. Timms adds to this with her melancholic delivery, allowing her voice to seep through all of the empty spaces in the mix, pushing the music far apart which in turn adds to the spaciousness of the album.

Burial Sunrise” is a record that is musically spot on as well as one that encapsulates the spirit and soul of Desert rock. Zun will probably never tour and might not even make another album, but “Burial Sunrise” makes for a worthy stopgap for each one of these artists involved. It’s nice to hear something as fresh as Zun while waiting for that new Yawning Man album to make the scene.

“Burial Sunrise” is available here



Band info: facebook

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