Saturday, February 15th, 2020

Zebra Katz – Ish

Nontroversy-ish


[Video]
[7.00]

Julian Axelrod: Zebra Katz doesn’t ride Sega Bodega’s curdled drone beat so much as he performs an old-school tap duet with it, shifting and pitching his flow to keep up with the constantly shifting terrain. Navigating these unrelenting 808s without getting caught in their gears requires near-inhuman presence and poise. Luckily Zebra Katz has both in spades, turning a grinding industrial track into a bass-boosted dance bop. I’m sold.
[8]

Will Adams: I never took to the lo-fi sonics of “Ima Read,” which makes it all the more noteworthy how completely “Ish” knocks me on my ass. Sega Bodega’s beat alternates between wailing sirens, power-tool sonics, throbbing bass arpeggios and, on top of that, switching into an uptempo beat without warning. Zebra Katz maintains control throughout, making his invitation to the dancefloor at once enticing and foreboding.
[8]

Alfred Soto: A sublime racket — Zebra Katz revisits Nine Inch Nails using RZA as lantern guide. But he’s got tricks that don’t have much cop for exhortatory disco moves, with the most depressed “keep the dance floor jumpin’/that ass bump-bumpin'” in pop history.
[8]

Kylo Nocom: Delicate distorted arpeggios lead to… more of the same muttered industrial rap that we saw quite a bit of last year? As a member of NYC’s queer rap scene, Zebra Katz certainly has a better claim to these textures than most of the people biting vogue house nowadays, yet “Ish” coasts on the viciousness of its production without offering any distinguishing features other than banging very hard. We’ve been deconstructing club for an entire decade now; can we finally go and put the damn thing together again?
[5]

Brad Shoup: Imagine how corroded this sounded as studio playback. I wanted to compare it to “Loyalty” but “Loyalty” no longer exists on the internet. The track returns to the one at weird angles and — through sampling — offers Zebra genial praise. He’s got the same playfulness if you can peel back the layers of bass.
[8]

Thomas Inskeep: A sinister-sounding statement of intent from Zebra Katz, a Black queer rapper who knows exactly what he’s doing. His 2012 vogue classic “Ima Read” gives you some idea what to expect, but it’s 2020 now, and shit is darker, so Katz is, too. Sega Bodega’s dark, synthy production is a marvelous match for Katz’s flow.
[8]

Edward Okulicz: More a showcase of pitiless, merciless drill-grinding sound than anything else. Zebra Katz knows what to do, which is to growl over it, but the effect is cartoonish and unloveable. And if there are great lines, they’re indistinguishable!
[5]

Nortey Dowuona: A broiling, rumbling bass squashes a lithe, lilting synth line into a quick burp as Katz jump ropes with it, then spinning it around his finger, then leaping through it and looping around it, finally unravelling and it shatters and rattles on the ground.
[5]

Katherine St Asaph: More spectacular menace along the lines of “Ima Read,” demonstrating just how low the ceiling is for 75% of supposedly tense music.  
[8]

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