Ahmed El Ghazoly aka ZULI, is a multi-instrumentalist, producer, and sound artist from Cairo, Egypt. He is co-founder of Kairo is Koming (KIK), a collective of six artists that played an important role in the rise of the city’s underground electronic music scene. Together with Asem Tag ($$$TAG$$$), ZULI also co-headed Cairo’s alternative music venue and club, VENT, from 2013-2015, before transforming their project into a namesake club night and festival. Around the same time, VENT London was run at the now closed Dance Tunnel venue by a third partner, Mohamed Elshourbagui.
ZULI released his debut EP, Bionic Ahmed, with Lee Gamble’s UIQ label, following up with another playfully unconventional release, Numbers and Trigger Finger for Haunter Records.
His upcoming release for UIQ - ‘Terminal’ - features prominent Egyptian rapper Abyusif, newcomers Abanoub, Mado $am and R-Rhyme, and the mysterious Mecca-based vocalist MSYLMA.
It sees him broadening out his work on previous EPs into something more localized and personal. The project features photography from his local zones in Cairo. Musically with ‘Terminal’ ZULI’s focus moves away from the dancefloor towards more melodic/ambient/ listening territories.
“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 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 multi-faceted (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. 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; its effect on everything from self-image and worldview, to the creative process, its fruits and the various masks/identities assumed in the process. The rap verses that feature are all either autobiographical or come from a place that is unique to each individual rapper; some of whom happen to be Cairean, and some who are not; the point is that it doesn’t really matter that much in the end.” – ZULI