Boomkat Product Review:
ZULI heat-synchs us into the sound of Cairo as spring transitioned into summer 2020 with a killer, fractious mesh of field recordings, queasily compressed electronics and frayed rhythms taped and edited for our ongoing Documenting Sound series.
Collaged from original music and incidental sound, ‘One’ vacillates bursts of rugged drums with pangs of melodic intimacy and the humid cacophony of everyday Cairo. It extends an immersive invitation to Zuli’s soundworld with results that steer the styles of his widely acclaimed ‘Terminal’ album in and out of the box, framing a unique, between-the-scenes perspective on 2020’s shared experience.
The two long, improvised pieces transport listeners into Ghazoly’s noisy flat / home studio in two subtly differing ways. On the first side ‘Alo?’ rasping junglist and syrup riddms unfurl alongside heatsick ambient sonics and slivers of outside sounds - dogs yapping, street chatter, an after-hours party at the orphanage across the road - and a recording of the artist calling into a Covid19 helpline on a shitty internet connection.
The B-side is a room recording, candidly capturing the artist at home with the windows open, programming fractious percussive shards and filtered electronics against the ever present environment of the world around him. It’s evocative and inspiring work, lending credence to the notion that sometimes recording on the hoof, tapping into quick instinct - and without too much afterthought - can bring out intangible qualities in the most interesting artists.
“Both sides are collages of original music, field recordings and improvised, single-take jam sessions with field samples of everyday Cairo-cacophony under curfew. For side B I placed a field recorder by the window of my studio while jamming so that the music and street sounds were recorded simultaneously. The music on this side isn’t entirely in the spotlight, but rather part of the environment.” ZULI, May 2020