PRICE:
$23.50
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ARTIST
TITLE
Terminal
FORMAT
2LP

LABEL
CATALOG #
UIQ 003LP UIQ 003LP
GENRE
RELEASE DATE
12/14/2018

Terminal is the debut album from Ahmed El Ghazoly, aka Zuli, for Lee Gamble's UIQ label. Electronic prism-pusher Zuli explores themes of identity, both hyper-local and global, in Terminal, his singular and definitive artistic statement. Expanding his sound to encompass melancholic ambient composition and grimy rap from prominent Egyptian MC Abyusif, as well as newcomers Abanoub, Mado $am, R-Rhyme, and mysterious Mecca-based vocalist MSYLMA, Terminal finds Zuli drawing upon a multiplicity of personal experiences in a concerted effort to upend preconceptions of what an Egyptian artist "should" sound like. In Zuli's own words: "In a world that feels like it's regressing into tribalism, many of us who don't fit into any one specific group identity feel sidelined at best. When people talk to me, whether it be the press or peers in the scene I operate in, I am often approached with a preconceived notion of pretty much everything from my influences to and tastes to my politics and lifestyle, solely based on my nationality. It is a caricature that has proven very marketable, one that makes for a more interesting read/conversation/booking, apparently, than a multi-faceted (hence unique) human personality just like each and every one of us." Across the 14 tracks of Terminal, the Cairean artist smartly unpacks and dissolves those lazy pre- or misconceptions by forming his own, syncretic musical language. Meshing the rhythmic grammar of hip hop and club styles with the Arabic dialects of his MCs and vocalist and the free syntax of ambient music, he dissolves and undermines outmoded ideas of exotification, presenting an image of himself that's more akin to the reality of Cairo and the sci-fi idea of P.K.D's scramble suits than any cliche conjured by music media. With controlled aggression and a gauntleted grasp of chaos, Zuli serves big highlights in vocal pieces such as the opener "Nari", featuring all the MCs entangled in a noxious noise rap clash, which smartly contrasts the haunting plangency of MSYLMA's lament on "Kollu I-Joloud". Vocals only account for half of the album; Zuli really comes into his own the sparring grime instrumental "Bump" and the sawn-off junglism "Wreck", and the album's more delirious moments, like the poly-chromatic designs of "He's Hearing Voices" and the heat-warped geolocators diffused into the ambient keen and astral jazz flourishes of "Follow Your Breath". Mastered by Helmut Erler at Dubplates & Mastering. Design by Dave Gaskarth, photography by Selim El Sadek.