Boomkat Product Review:
ZULI deploys unflinching atom-smashing tekkerz on the peerless Nashazphone in a noisy dervish of drill ’n breakcore x improv electronics featuring Elvin Brandhi & Karim El Ghazoly.
ZULI has built a fierce reputation via releases on Haunter and Lee Gamble’s UIQ, including Wire magazine’s #2 AOTY in 2018, ‘Terminal’, and more recently the ‘One’ album in 2020 for our Documenting Sound series. In 2019, his keenly observed progress was curtailed by the robbery of his laptop and live performance gear, but he’s overcome that bullshit and gets ravishingly deep into his sound here with ‘Digla Dive - Live’; a furnace blast document of him playing with studio compositions, in-the-moment.
While tempestuous standout ‘Alteration Jump’ features the rabid vox of Elvin Brandhi and Karim El Ghazoly, the vast majority of the recording finds ZULI going sicko with a palette of ruffneck IDM in mind-bending style and pattern. The 10 parts place lessons learned and instincts honed during years of heavy touring at the service of a distinctively bullish but intricate form of avant-club music which makes little concession to the grid.
The session arrives on Nashazphone nearly 10 years since EEK’s jaw-dropping ‘Live at the Cairo High Cinema Institute’ LP with a sort of hyper update on the Cairene underground. Inside the ride, we hear aspects of road-ready mahraganat or electro-shaabi (Egypt’s answer to grime and dancehall) rinsed out into flechette ballistics reminding of early ‘00s breakcore, and ‘Windowlicker’-like electronic wormholes slipping into bone-crunching ruggedness, passages of hyper-chromatic ambient switched up into ecstatic noise and futurist geometries echoing the brilliance of his peer 1127.