• Ambient jungle-not-jungle that strikes all the right notes, touching on Krautrock, The Orb and more.
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  • Gi GI's Sunchoke starts with the sound of a ringing guitar, followed by a Krautrock-ish drum pattern, eventually building into a swimming, psychedelic groove that sounds more than a little like Can. It's one of those beautiful LP introductions that brings to mind imagery like a meadow in bloom or the sun parting for clouds, especially once the delicate piano floats its way in. It's hard to know how to classify it—you could call it post-rock, ambient, chill-out. But listen carefully to the drums and "Dawn Song" starts to take on an almost drum & bass-style groove, a form of ambient jungle that Gi Gi explores across Sunchoke's beautiful 33 minutes. It's a nostalgic and comforting look at a sound first pioneered in the '90s, indulging in ambient jungle's best qualities without resorting to cliché. On tracks like "Two Ones," Gi Gi captures the flutter of jungle without the full-on rhythmic assault. The result is something that glides and shimmers, letting the basslines sing instead of focusing on the drums. And Gi Gi often prefers bobbing hand percussion over metallic breakbeats, as we hear "Asp," whose lead melody is buried in the back like a shoegaze track. You can hear the power and propulsion of jungle, but again, it's something different entirely. And the rippling Lisle sounds like what those recent Pink Floyd LPs would have been like if they came out on Good Looking Records, all nylon strings strummed into a wash of shimmering ambience. It's easy to fall into comparisons with Sunchoke—the title track's twinkling ivories evoke Future Sound Of London, while the sampladelic "Get Away Dub" reminds me of The Orb—but what's most impressive about the tape is how distinctive and concrete of a world Gi Gi makes in such a short time. Sunchoke's scope and expansive feels never-ending, like a broad horizon specked by mountains, cloud and ocean, with just a few elements. Guitar, organic-sounding drum loops, keyboards. Like a brilliant watercolor painting, the sounds are daubed and smudged in all the right places, a wash of colour and feeling that occasionally coalesces into striking details before falling back into the background again.