Called Terminal, his record questions preconceived notions about what it means to be an Egyptian living in Cairo
Last year's Radio Lab winner ZULI will release his debut LP Terminal in November. Featuring Abyusif, Abanoub, Mado $am, R-Rhyme and MSYLMA, the album has been described as a more localised and personal project than ZULI’s previous EPs Bionic Ahmed and Numbers (both on UIQ) and Trigger Finger (Haunter). As its artwork city photography indicates, the album reflects on his own experiences in hometown Cairo.
“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,” declares ZULI. “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 and taste 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 multifaceted (hence unique) human personality just like each and every one of us. Ever since this came to my attention I have been making a point to be as vocal as possible about how unfair that is.
“This is an album inspired by my own personal experience in the city I live in,” he continues. “I just happen to be an Egyptian musician and the city just happens to be Cairo. My experience in Cairo may very well have more in common with that of an Indian accountant in New Delhi than of another Egyptian musician in Cairo.
“Terminal draws from an abstract narrative of increasingly frequent cycles of ego-death and rebirth,” he concludes, “its effect on everything from self-image and worldview, to the creative process, its fruits and the various masks/identities assumed in the process.”
Listen to “Kollu l-Joloud” featuring MSYLMA below. ZULI’s Terminal is released by UIQ on 2 November.