Formed by Cairo-based artists ZULI and Rama, the pair set up irsh as a platform to bring together likeminded friends and artists with shared musical interests. Launched back in January this year, this Friday sees the release of their debut compilation did you mean: irish. Ahead of this they highlight five artists also part of the Cairo electronic scene.

Initially created to offer a communal space for them to gather together and play sets, documenting this as a series of videos, the upcoming compilation came about when this part of the project came to a halt due to the pandemic. Continuing the collective essence of irsh, did you mean: irish features an array of Cairo-based artists and those who’ve passed through the city. Opener ‘Estemara Umru Mesa’ by ltfll packs a sucker-punch of hard club experimentalism whilst Abdullah Miniawy and HVAD’s track offers haunting, hypnotic ambiance, highlighting the diverse range of experimental club soundscapes and textures featured. Each track on the compilation gives a snapshot of each artist as well as offering an insight into the prolific creative community in Cairo that ZULI and Rama have fostered with irsh.

Delve into irsh’s selections below.

1127 – Renaissance – النهضة

Amr El Alamy aka 1127 is your favourite producer’s favourite producer. This is the A3 from his debut LP on Nashazphone and is a good entry point into his overdriven, bottom-heavy sound. Amr has played a massive role in the Cairo scene through his work with the likes of VENT and Hizz, and co-founding JellyZone. He currently runs digital label ANBA with London-based Fingal Ashford aka Mang.

Onsy – score for “Dispersion: Internal Fissure” by Castell Lanko

The main reason we picked this one to introduce Onsy is because it demonstrates his grasp on the visual aspect of this particular strain of Ambient. Also because the visuals are sick and Castell is an absolute don 🙂 Besides his solo work as a producer and DJ (known for his hard, uncompromising club sets), Onsy is also one half of IDM outfit 0N4B with ABADIR. 

3Phaz – Exploit

This is one of those DJ weapons that serve as a sort of emergency button guaranteed to save any type of dancefloor “situation”; a proper banger! To be honest, you can virtually say the same about any track off this record; 3Phaz’s debut LP “Three Phase” released on OG Cairo label 100Copies this last March 27th (ie just as the pandemic hit). Besides a single on a 100Copies compilation the year before, this is the first we’ve heard from the producer whose identity remains unknown. He always performs in a massive hoodie and mask covering his face, and always destroys the dancefloor.

Nadah El Shazly – Mahmiya (Protectorate)

There’s a reason someone with only 6 tracks out is being booked around the world to play sold out venues for 3 years straight. Said reason can be heard on this dense serving of a closer to the album Ahwar. The track is called Mahmiya (Protectorate) and features Cairo-based Maurice Louca on (heavenly) sliding guitar, Osama Shalaby on electric guitar and a choir conducted by Dina Cindric who also plays piano on the track.

El Kontessa – DJ set for 

Since everyone and their dog is making Shaabi, being able to stand out and hone your own sound isn’t an easy task in Cairo. With that in mind, no one sounds like El Kontessa. The chunk of her DJ sets is live edits blending Shaabi with all sorts of genres and heavy utilization of effects. Posting one track wouldn’t do her justice so here’s a set she did for Amman-based back in April.

‘did you mean: irish‘ is out this Friday (25th September). Pre-order here.