ZHU: “stardustexhalemarrakechdreams” EP Review

Written By: Sam Marshall 

Originality: (5.0 / 5)
Vocals/Flow: (5.0 / 5)
Lyrics: (4.0 / 5)
Production: (5.0 / 5)
Average: (4.8 / 5)

Majestic cine-electronics from one of the best contemporary artists

The enigmatic artist ZHU’s third EP was debuted last month. stardustexhalemarrakechdreams is his third EP, but maintains all of the originality from his preceding work.

stardustexhalemarrakechdreams is one of these strange works that is only four pieces, but feels like a full-blown musical blockbuster. Only coming in at 15 minutes, the four songs are interwoven seamlessly and to me really give a sense of a journey, not usually experienced on an EP. You only have to look at the timeline on the EP to see a clear journey from start to end. In stardustexhalemarrakechdreams ZHU uses his trademark sounds to provide the main body of the music, but adds extra characteristics to change the direction of the EP. Take “Stardust”  for example. The first minute acts solely as introduction, but then with a simple pause and drop the song shifts up a gear to driving forward.

The second track, “Exhale”, brings a driving theatrical string figure- reminiscent of Requiem for a Dream- alongside a deep bass motif that pushes the electronic nature of the beast back to its roots. The listener is bounced around between house EP and thematic musical effortlessly by ZHU, and it really works. You only have to listen to the first 10 seconds of “Chasing Marrakech” to instantly be transported there. You get all of the vibes of the Aladdin score and One Night in Bangkok, but when the vocal enters you really feel the modernity of the piece and just how cool what ZHU does is. Even the opening of the NERO collaboration “Dreams” opens with religious Gregorian chant-esque vocals. You really get a sense of Mozart/Skrillex, or Beethoven/Diplo, and I can’t emphasize enough how well it works!

stardustexhalemarrakechdreams shows that electronic music absolutely has a future outside of the nightclub, and I think that with a master such as ZHU in the driving seat, full-length works for more than just albums and EPs will be a reality. Imagine a cinematic-electronic 21st Century Fantasia; that is what you get with ZHU.