Set the mood for ZHU’s consecutive performances at Governors Ball, Schimanski with these five discerning cuts
Few electronic artists’ productions are as idiosyncratically cinematic as ZHU‘s. The producer who frequently lends his own characteristically breathy vocals to his tracks commands a musical mystique that was amplified with the release of his 2018 album, Ringo’s Desert. The producer’s sophomore LP arrived as a sensuous, cross-genre scorcher that showed off ZHU’s signature, haunting vocals, while all the time seeking to evoke the landscape of the desert.
The environmentally influenced concept album channeled the desert’s scorching conditions into the effort’s production, as ZHU lyrically recounted the demise of a relationship that once simmered with heat, only to eventually burn out. Given its breadth of musical emotionality and mainstream appeal via collaborations with heavyweights such as Tame Impala, Ringo’s Desert cinched ZHU Dancing Astronaut’s nomination for 2018’s Album of the Year.
ZHU will appear at New York’s Governors Ball festival on June 1, to deliver an affective live performance that will be followed by hosted at Brooklyn mainstay, Schimanski. Dancing Astronaut has compiled five of ZHU’s most dexterous catalog inclusions ahead of the enigmatic producer’s back-to-back appearances.
1. “In The Morning” – ZHU
The third track listing on ZHU’s debut LP, GENERATIONWHY, “In The Morning” touts many of the elements signature to a ZHU production: a moody, sultry overall feel, ZHU’s own tantalizing vocals, a grounded bass line, and synth arrangements that effect sonic drama. ZHU couples low piano notes at the song’s opening with his vocals to set the tone early in the production.
2. “Automatic” -ZHU, AlunaGeorge
The synergy of ZHU and AlunaGeorge‘s vocal talents radiates with an indisputable brilliance on “Automatic.” The vocalists’ duet is a sensuous conversational interplay conducted through verse. A highlight of the plucky house number is the sax solo that closes out the track at song’s end. “Automatic” graces ZHU’s 2015 EP, Genesis Series.
3. “Cocaine Model” -ZHU
Perhaps one of the songs that best focalizes the sensual filminess of ZHU’s vocals, “Cocaine Model” is a light producer with a gossamer sonic sexiness. ZHU’s vocals float atop lush pads, as the track’s beat pulsates forward. The easy flowing number centralizes sumptuous melodies, which function as hallmarks of the tune’s makeup, second only to ZHU’s silky vocals.
4. “One Kiss (with Dua Lipa) ” – Calvin Harris (ZHU Remix)
ZHU reframed Calvin Harris‘ Dua Lipa-assisted smash single in a rework that significantly slowed the pace of Harris’ original. ZHU distorts Dua Lipa’s vocal, casting a tonal shroud over her contribution to deepen the singer’s verses. Sung contributions from ZHU himself filter in as the remix develops. The titillatingly dark take indulges in low seated rhythms and arpeggiated synths, to yield a re-imaginative effort that offers a house stylization distinctly different from Harris’ own.
5. “Still Want U” – ZHU, Karnaval Blues
Doleful lyrical confession characterizes “Still Want U,” a cut that hails from ZHU’s 2018 effort, Ringo’s Desert Pt. 1. “Still Want U” is a downtempo showing that connects the producer with fellow vocalist, Karnaval Blues. ZHU and Karnaval Blues’ vocals are a piercing combination.
Photo credit: ZHU/Facebook