Sunday Sounds: ZHU

It’s been difficult to find anything to write about for the past couple weeks, because I haven’t heard anything that’s grabbed me, and nothing seems to draw me in for more than a song. This is unorthodox and unsettling for me, considering music has been the one thing to re-engage me, or that offers respite from whatever problems may arise.

Sometimes it’s the way a melody plays out, or a dirty bass line, or the payoff after a long build. It seems like with music, you either need the tone to run concurrent with your emotions, or exactly counter to them, in order to kind of shake you out of your funk. With metal, for example. Or indie-pop, or something you don’t quite know how to categorize.

“What artists would you compare Zhu to?” My girlfriend asked me yesterday. I drew a blank, because that’s a very good question. There’s elements of R&B, hip-hop, and house present in his music, often switching between genres in the same song. Her closest comparison she could draw to Zhu is Odesza.

Zhu released a 40-minute mix for BBC Radio 1 this past week, and he created a particularly eclectic mix for their ‘AfterHours’ series, with the theme of what you’d hear at their house after a night out. For Zhu, that means an almost easy-listening version of T-Pain’s “Bartender,” Chic and Michael Jackson remixes, his breakthrough Outkast cover, and a couple unreleased tracks.

It’s a tight, cohesive, and succinct mix of songs. It wasn’t necessarily the magical mood salve I was looking for, but it does feature sizable portions of addictive melodies and dirty bass lines. It’s comforting to know that he’s maintaining consistency when I can’t seem manage it myself.

This Sunday…I don’t have any larger lesson or moral of the story to point to. Just let Zhu take you away for a bit, then find what you need, whether it be a parallel or perpendicular to your emotional state. Feel free to let me know what works to snap you out of a funk, or what un-sticks you.

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