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Gurun Gurun - S/T


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Gurun Gurun is an experimental, weird ambient, and glitch music group from the Czech Republic. Formed in 2007 by guitarist Tomas Knoflicek and keyboardist Jara Tarnovski and later expanded to include Federsel from the improvisational group B4, they create delicate music made from a combination of guitars, turntables, analogue synthesizers and a number of acoustic instruments and digital effects. This self-titled debut album is a collaborative effort, featuring musicians including, among others, Opiate, Kora et le Mechanix, and Japanese vocalists and experimental artists Moskitoo, Sawako, and Rurakiss. This collaboration allows Gurun Gurun to blend together effectively a number of different influences, from atmospheric ambient to video game-esque glitch and Japanese experimental and noise music. 

The album’s better tracks create a delicate and at times haunting feeling. In particular, the collaborations with vocalist Moskitoo takes the listener through gorgeous, ethereal experimental pop soundscapes. “Fu”, the album’s opener, slowly builds as an ambient background. With the introduction of Moskitoo’s vocals, the background shifts into glitches and clicks that help foreground Moskitoo’s delicate voice. And with “Ano Uta”, Gurun Gurun creates an even nicer experimental pop background for Moskitoo’s vocals. The blend of vocals, clicks, and glitches turn this track into an entrancing, otherworldly lullaby.

While Moskitoo’s vocals, in both tracks and the Opiate remix of “Fu” add a layer of otherworldly charm, the other vocalists unfortunately do not add value to the music. I would have preferred it, for instance, had “Yume no Moi” dropped the vocals and remained an interesting, weird ambient noise track. Further, I found Rurakiss’s breathy vocals to be rather grating at times. With “Kuko” (as with “Kodomo ”), her vocals fail to blend well, and detract from what might have other been the most interesting background on the album. Without the right vocalists, these tracks fall flat, and fail to create the same delicate beauty as the collaborations with Moskitoo.

Aside from a few ambient and noise interludes, there is only one true vocal-less track on the album. This track, “Karumi,” does everything right. It begins with a nice, slow-moving blend of guitars. The track slowly adds a variety of instrumentation and samples in a cacophony of otherworldly bliss, showcasing Gurun Gurun’s talents well.

There is nothing new or original in this music. Nonetheless, Gurun Gurun shows a knack for deft musical production and quirky yet tender musical backgrounds. Aside from a problematic selection of vocalists that at times detracted from the music, Knoflicek, Tarnovski, and Federsel have created a surprisingly self-assured debut album that will appeal to fans of weird ambient, noise music, and experimental pop. 

Jeremy Yellen


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