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Zuli - Lambda (album)

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New album by one of the most udnerrated experimental musiscians operating today. releasing July 5th.

Lambda | ZULI (bandcamp.com)

ZULI's widest-reaching and most ambitious album to date, 'Lambda' is a conspicuous left turn for the Berlin-based Egyptian producer. Draped in gauzy, granulated textures and woven with enigmatic vocal flourishes from collaborators MICHAELBRAILEY, Coby Sey and Abdullah Miniawy, it's a vivid, soul-searching set of polychromatic reflections that sets fire to the boundaries between ambient, trip-hop, industrial music, chamber pop and symphonic noise. In some aspects, 'Lambda' reveals ZULI's softer side; gone are the earth-shaking chopped rhythms and stop-start outbursts of corroded static that characterized his last full length, 'Digla Dive - Live'. But peer beneath the brain burrowing vocal melodies, mangled instrumental loops, anxious poems and subtle, harmonic synth washes and a new kind of intensity lurks in the shadows.

Since his early releases on Lee Gamble's UIQ label and his 2018 breakout 'Trigger Finger', ZULI has notched up major global acclaim for his futuristic, kinetic musical diversions. He cut his teeth supplying beats to local rappers back home in Cairo, soon shifting his attention to the city's burgeoning dance underground, promoting events, DJing prolifically and tirelessly supporting the scene's most experimental fringe. In 2019, ZULI teamed up with Rama to curate the irsh series of video transmissions, evolving the project into a label shortly afterwards. And now situated in Berlin, the duo have extended the concept to encompass an ongoing sequence of genre-averse club nights. All this experience and constant creative motion is etched into the foundations of 'Lambda'. It's an album that plays liberally with euphoria, but feels constantly precarious, intrepidly peering out from its tense internal world.

Lead single '10000 (Papercut pt. 1)' is one of the album's most unexpected cuts, featuring a soaring falsetto vocal from Hamburg-based British composer and performer MICHAELBRAILEY. "What do I have to show for it?" he asks suggestively, while ZULI replies with seismic bass rumbles and celestial, harp-like chimes. Building towards a crippling, dense crescendo, the track is among the weightiest ZULI's ever produced, replacing his signature beats with industrial metal drones and razor-sharp electronics. Brailey also shows up on the symphonic 'Syzygy', singing sweetly until he stretches his voice into mutant echoes, augmenting the chorals with powdery, granulated hisses and surreal piano phrases. On 'Plateau' meanwhile, ZULI works alongside virtuosic multi-instrumentalist and singer Abdullah Miniawy, who calls to the heavens as digitally pulverized strings quiver in the background. And cult British artist Coby Sey adds his unmistakable tones to 'Ast', mouthing tense, thoughtful words over mangled music box jingles and ecstatic pads.

When he's not straddled by his collaborators through, ZULI is free to make some of his most personal gestures. He fashions a phantasmic, pitch-fluxed robotic croon on 'Trachea', curving it around half-speed hip-hop clacks and cinematic drones, then driving it into walls of impermeable noise on 'The Horn'. And the album's most revealing moment comes with the short 'Fahsil Qusseer', when ZULI recites a poem written by his father. Stretching his voice and a tape-saturated break like elastic, ZULI mimics the emotional push-and-pull of the protagonist, who overcomes their anxiety to escape into the outside world, only to retreat immediately back to the safety of solitude. The track puts the whole of 'Lambda' into sharp focus - through the walls of noise and exuberant, intoxicating waves of ambience, ZULI finds solace in limbo between the manic extremes.




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47 minutes ago, d-a-m-o said:

wow that first track is so lame...

Sadly it is. Zuli can be so good but this sounds like shit. I was expecting some crazy beat programming or whatever but the track is just bad vocals with a bassline drone underneath it. Hopefully the rest of the album is better, havent disliked a single of his projects so far!

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I jizzed my pants until i heard the lead single. Oh well, i'm still very excited for this album hell yeah

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  • 3 weeks later...
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Posted (edited)

It's out

I like the first track, Trachea is nice, Fahsil Qusseer is cool, Myth and Sea Angel are okay as well but it's just a little same-y and lets be honest.. this isn't what we were hoping for 

Edit: I do have to say that I love the distorted ambiance anyway, you just have to listen to the album without thinking of el ghazoly's older work

Edited by thumbass
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