ZULI is the electronic producer and musician that hails from Cairo, Egypt. Real name Ahmed El Ghazoly, ZULI’s music draws from the heavier edges of electronic music, working with morphing textures, an ever-increasing spectrum of sound sources and recomposing bits of rhythm inherited from grime, hip hop, techno and jungle.
His latest release, Trigger Finger, follows efforts for Lee Gamble’s UIQ imprint, and sees the producer continue to dismantle rave frameworks, with the fierce EP described as “a game of shadows, bass weight and outworked tension.”
His sound was carved however from his experiments with the Egyptian rap scene, acting as beatmaker and producer to a number of local artists. ZULI’s aim has always been to put audiences, producers and DJs from Cairo in conjunction with the wider global electronic scene, also co-founding pioneering club night VENT, a party which has became a staple to the reshape of the electronic scene in his city.
In light of this, we caught up with the producer to get a run down of some of the musicians and artists currently killing it in his city, with ZULI picking out a wealth of innovative music from both friends and established artists. See his picks below.
1. Abyusif – Amal 2
Placing aside the fact that this is my best friend, it isn’t an unpopular view that Abyusif is the GOAT of Arabic Rap. This is the most recent in the latest series of singles that sees him excel even further into new heights with the genre’s bar on his back.
2. MSYLMA مسيلمة – نوم الغرباء (ft ZULI)
This is one of the tracks I did with MSYLMA; the drums are all him banging his fingers on a desk while singing. If I remember correctly (and I can’t reach him atm because he lives in a different country and is very difficult to get ahold of online) I only made the sounds/instruments on this track; he wrote and arranged everything.
3. karimelghazoly – Weshy Mnamel
Beautiful ambience by multi-instrumentalist and producer Karim Elghazoly, who just happens to be my brother. This is a track off his tape ‘Night Gerl’ that came out on videogamemusic last year.
4. R-RHYME™ – Wala3 Wdeny (Produced by Shainobi)
Ramy is part of a burgeoning new wave of young Rappers from Egypt; I think I’ve played this one out in every single DJ set I’ve done in the past year.
5. Mado $am – Solo
This track by Mado $am (also a member of the same wave of rappers). I picked this track because I think it is a good candidate for exhibiting his songwriting capabilities.
6. ABANOB MAGED – 3ala Toul (Ft. Dawsha)
Another member of the same wave of rappers, Abanoub rides the beat like he’s the Kelly Slater of Rap; smoothly maneuvering the line between flowing and singing. Its no surprise that he chose to collaborate with OG Dawsha on this specific track.
7. MARWAN PABLO – EL 8OLAF x OZORIS
This 2-part track by Marwan Ahmed (FKA Dama) under his new alias MRVWN PVBLO has been making waves since it came out a few months ago. Been playing this one out a lot too.
8. 0N4B – G#L_A’m’B
0N4B is a project by Onsy and Abadir where they collaborate on long pieces that have so far become live sets that they perform around Cairo. Everything from the spaces they create to the objects that exist inside them is designed in a way that I personally find extremely engaging; one that incites the will to explore in a manner that is almost hypnotizing.
9. Bosaina – A Hundred Other Longings
An excerpt of the beautiful “Two Names Upon The Shore” EP by Bosaina. This one is a long improvised piano driven piece with a very short 4-bar chorus-y part that only comes in once towards the end of the song. You should also check out the EP on the other side of the same record called “New York April – July 2013”
10. Nur – Breathe
This is Nur showcasing one of her many faces as a musician and sound artist. I highly recommend digging into her body of work.
11. طــرخ ~ Tor5 – Tor5y – Shawaf (feat. Che)~ طُرخِي – شواف
The homie Amr El Alamy aka 1127 with another Tor5 experiment… this one samples rapper Chè from the rap group ’99 Hip Street.
12. Nous Disques – As She Walks By
Banger by ISMAEL. from last year’s Low Contrast EP (us015) on Berlin’s Nous Disques.
Catch Zuli at No Bounds Festival in Sheffield on October 13th.
Tickets and more info here.