As talented electronic music producers seem to get younger every year, it’s no surprise that we ended up bumping on 19-year-old Zulu‘s heavily percussive tracks. Despite his age, the young London beatmaker has been hard at work on making a name for himself by fusing the British bass music scene with addictive African rhythmic patterns, resulting in a fresh outlook on the globalized trend that is sweeping today’s club music. From his formative years listening to his parents’ weird world music CD’s to making his own bass-heavy percussive workouts on labels such as Girls Music and Zoo Music , Zulu is finally ready to step up to the big league.
The title track I.N.C.L.E.H. kickstarts the EP by looping vocal samples over a skeletal track, where the beat is stripped out of any distractions and focuses on bringing the bass upfront – where it should be – and letting the syncopated drum loops and marimbas do the talking. This track sits comfortably halfway between the darkness of the club and the brightness of the African sun, which pretty much sums up the Zulu style of beatmaking in a nutshell.
Black Eye twists and turns over a steady four-to-the-floor beat, where a big roomy kick drum welds together several layers of loose voodoo drums, complemented by big white noise swells and unexpected drops which take the listener on an energetic yet thoughtful ride. Imagine a dutch house beat where instead of spaced out synths you have magic marimba posessed by voodoo spirits and you’re halfway there.
Last but not least we’ve got Kwame kicking the tribal house vibes into full gear, with syncopated drums and warm summery pads creating the mood for a sunset party in a dreamy tropical beach. Despite the relaxed attitude of the EP’s closing track there’s a subtle techno darkness to it that fully encapsulates Zulu‘s ambiguous and layered production, by blending together energetic club-centric beats and a dark rhythmic vibe flown in straight from Africa’s deepest darkest jungles.