Zenjungle is the musical alias of musician and artist Phil Gardelis based in Athens, Greece. He has been quite busy of late, with a number of solo albums & EPs, collaborations, not to mention his graphic art which includes logos and album covers. The most recent musical release is Flow, a four track sonic journey on German label Midira Records.
The cover art with its austere geometric concrete imagery, designed by Gardelis himself, is emblematic of the music contained within which brings together deeply atmospheric drones, heavily textural ambient guitar, and the most distinctive aspect of the Zenjungle sound – the saxophone.
Gardelis comes from Athens. A big town, with very noisy and spirited streets. A place where old and new architecture and culture flows together. This is exactly what you can here on this album. Zenjungle uses tenor saxophone, electric guitar, synths and field recordings to create something that flows between ambient, drone, jazz and noise. – Midira Records
The aptly named ‘Rivers’ opens the album with deep flowing currents of drone and dense webs of distortion. It teems with life, some of it rising from the depths to cloud the water with gritty swirls of silt. Gardelis’ sax blasts out at the beginning of ‘Forever’, setting the tone for an urban soundscape. Once again, the drones have a serrated edge and the sax lines start to multiply and converse. ‘Constancy’ strikes a more pensive mood with softer tones and as soulful sax lines emerge over indistinct street sounds, we can easily imagine a lonely night scene in the heart of the city. ‘Wildflowers’ is even more delicate, opening with a melancholic wash of sounds underneath guitar harmonic until the keyboards swell under it with relentless but muted intensity.
Zenjungle’s vivid combination of intricate dronescapes and improvisational jazz elements makes for a singular listening experience and Flow is perhaps his strongest work yet. It is being released by Midira in a limited run of yellow cassettes in a cardboard sleeve (70 copies). If and when it becomes available in other formats, this post will be updated.
Artwork by Phil Gardelis: http://zenjunglemusic.com/artwork.html
Listen to ‘Constancy’
Other recent releases by Zenjungle:
All Of Our Yesterdays [futuresequence]
The first of a new long-form series on the Futuresequence label released April 2015.
“The piece blends tense noise textures and rhythm, with haunting sax, clarinet and flugelhorn notes carrying the listener across dark and sometimes inhospitable environments.”
Changing Light [Flaming Pines] – a collaboration with Valiska
A collaboration with Canadian ambient sound artist Valiska released December 2014.
“From different time zones, and very different cities Valiska (Krzysztof Sujata) and Zenjungle (Phil Gardelis) have carved out an album which celebrates change, nuance and noise.”