Reviewing Zunk is like reviewing a gryphon. Or, like trying to differentiate a gryphon from a griffin; is it the noble, regal gryphon that has human speaking abilities and graces church pillars? Or is it the griffin – the breathtaking, animalistic beast that survives on its instincts? What am I even supposed to examine and contrast it to – an eagle? A lion? That is if I can even find one. Those damn things are elusive…
Zunk is nearly equally as illusory and esoteric as the gryphon (griffin). He’s a few tracks on Bandcamp. He’s a disappearing and reappearing set on SoundCloud. He’s a zipped folder in a private, unmarked email. And he is rarely identifiable by ear alone, due to a zeal for multigenre exploration even within the space of one track.
A trip to the Zunk SoundCloud is a perfect example of what I’m attempting to illustrate here. The first seat on his tracks page, “Assault the Vowel,” shows off a throaty voice made for guttural rock ballads set against an acoustic guitar. The very next track has euro-trash swagger, and several spaces down is a fantastic, meticulous cover of “Strawberry Fields Forever.” My personal favorite tunes to be found on Zunk’s SoundCloud don’t even have official titles. “Wednesday, April 6th, 2011 (excerpt)” begins with the words “I think I’m going to blow your car up (that’s right), so maybe you would walk with me” on top of an accordion having a tryst with an urban soundtrack of sirens and grinding train wheels. “Friday, April 8th, 2011” is an awesome and absurd gypsy-like traipse, also featuring the accordion.
A constant in Zunk’s lyrically driven pieces is an evident affinity for storytelling. Which stories are autobiographical is blurry, and each yarn has a dark tint. His singer-songwriter pieces seem to evade and reject his often bubbly and bright electronic alter-ego. Some great, albeit harder to find electro-indie songs include the Bandcamp collaboration between Zunk and Render the Galaxy “Hyperparoxysms” and original piece “I Heard You Were a Mess.”
In the span of a Zunk listening session, one thing really crystallizes in my mind: he knows how to craft a song from beginning to end. No matter the genre, he has a mysterious aptitude for structure and beat. A basic instinct.
He’s kind of like a griffin.