Review from www.inyourspeakers.com .
Released in late April on Mind Of A Genius, ZHU’s Nightday EP is a creative, well crafted electronic dance record. ZHU’s skills for sample selection and combination come through clearly across the record and across the record’s genres. ZHU plays around with tropical house sounds, deep house, and chillout with little nods to progressive house. The resulting combinations of sounds and samples are sometimes strange, but somehow ZHU manages to make them work. That miraculous exercise makes the Nightday EP worth a listen.
The first track, “Stay Closer,” is a hypnotizing, dark, funky house track. One listen to this track and it will make it to the hot indie electronic music playlist. This is a simple song in that it is composed of simple elements, but ZHU layered these samples in different ways and created a complex, fascinating track.
Following “Stay Closer” is “Faded,” a more straightforward track than the opener, but is slightly better for it. It features a darker bassline and prominent high pitched vocals. ZHU uses those vocals to make the contrast of the drop into the dark bassline more apparent. That is, the vocals make the bass sound much darker and more intrusive. This effect results in a compelling, grungy sound. Toward the end of the track, ZHU repeats this tactic, but he uses a high pitched synth to set up the drop. Also in this drop, ZHU layers the vocals and dark bassline on top of each other. It is a well deserved and hard-earned, awesome moment among many in “Faded.”
The fourth track, “Superfriends,” is a funky, slow, deep house track. The various vocal parts keep things interesting; they serve as effective transitions and complements to the production. This is the funkiest track on the album. How the vocals and beat work together is an intriguing but amazing mystery as they sound like they should not work. However, their cohesion works all the more and reflects well on ZHU’s sample selection.
Final track “Cocaine Model” is a tropical house track similarly styled to the third track, “Paradise Awaits,” but this one is better. Smooth, airy vocal samples frequently glide over a simple beat-clap pattern with bongo drums. ZHU takes these elements and combines them and mixes them differently with modern electronic samples. With his tropical beats, vocal samples and other well chosen samples, like acoustic guitar, ZHU crafts a chill, beachside, dance winner and concludes the EP in a fantastic way with “Cocaine Model.”
For a debut EP, ZHU has produced an admirable work. There are not many, if any, flagrant faults to point to on this record. It might be too unusual and a little too different for mass appreciation, but this is one record where trying out different sounds worked out positively. The beats are steady, the samples are funky, the vocals are smooth counterparts to the dark, grungy bass, and many of the tracks are head nodding and get-up-and-dance good on ZHU’s Nightday EP. His full length album will be awaited with great anticipation.