ZULI // All Caps
In a world where everything can be saved, backed up and recalled in a click, there’s something to be said for the impact an enforced reset has on an artist. The circumstances for ZULI’s own clean break are hardly cause for celebration – he had his equipment and years worth of sounds stolen while on tour – but he’s responded to the loss with a proactive verve. All Caps is the first released results from his new start, rebuilding his sound library from the ground up and unleashing the new sound with a rabid urgency.
The information ZULI flings at you is a lot to take in – rather than latching onto a groove and riding it, it feels more like you’re swerving your brain through a busy asteroid field. That’s especially true on the gloriously hectic ‘Tany’ – a melee of sonic shards underpinned by deft, bludgeoning bass pressure. There’s a surgical quality to ZULI’s work, and it ensures that even when chopping up amen breaks on ‘Bassous’ he’s doing it with more flair than the average jungle fancier. His explicit stabs into the jungle arena are even more profound on the wild, distorted splendour of ‘Penicillin Duck’.
Maddening loops and sample jerks suggest the rhythmic language of footwork has crept into ZULI’s craft, especially on the murky, knotty trysts of ‘Where Do You Go’, while ‘Keen Demag’ rides on a lurid half-tempo flex which makes half a nod back to the hip hop tendencies which came through on his debut album, Terminal. But ZULI’s roots feel some distance away in the staggering futurism of All Caps, which finishes up on one of the EPs standout highlights, ‘Bro! (Love it)’. ZULI has always been smart about his use of melodic elements in fiercely rhythmic, metallic sonic environs, and it’s the zinging chords daggering over staccato percussion on this epic finale which confirm you’ve just been brain-rinsed by one of the boldest operators in active service.
This review was originally published as part of Juno Daily’s Singles of the Week round-up.