Born out of a desire to break free from the oversaturation of House and Techno in Egypt’s party scene, as well as for those not “into partying for partying’s sake,” ZULI and Rama’s IRSH began as a series of low-key, open-format back-2-back sessions from Cairo-based and international collaborators streamed online that served as an opportunity to “hang out with friends and play music”.

Despite the last session having taken place prior to COVID-19 lockdown, Rama and ZULI decided to put together ‘did you mean: irish’, a “snapshot” of what their international circle of friends and affiliates have been up to since quarantine began. Since the debut of the original single ‘The Dirty Canes Lake,’ by Abdullah Miniawy & HVAD, IRSH have since put out a range of singles from the talented individuals on their roster, and as of September 25th the entire compilation album has been available to stream and purchase in full. 

Since the announcement of the project did you mean: irish was shaping up to be a monolithic undertaking from IRSH and their international web of affiliates, many of whom can be counted amongst the most forwards-thinking musical acts in the region, and indeed on an international scale, on cutting edge of contemporary electronic. Now that the project is out, the full scope of the project becomes clear; a finely curated deconstruction of genre boundaries, and an overall disregard for mainstream appeal, bouncing between euphoric ambient highs, subterranean post-club heat, deconstructed percusion, psychedelic mahraganat, and even a brief splash of UK Drill.

Among the highlights of the 10-track compilation is Tor5y and Lil Asaf’s massive trap-tinged tune ’Andaf Naw3’,  which stretches the genre to near breaking point with aggressively distorted 808 kicks and rattling, rapid fire hi-hats, accentuating Lil Asaf’s downpitched, slurred raps.  LTFLL’s ‘Estamara Umru Mesa’ —  which premiered on DJMAG on September 9th — hits with the force of a freight train, blending a healthy dose of metallic post-club percussion with an undercurrent of dubstep-inspired growls and stuttering trap hi-hats into a truly explosive combination. 

Anonymous experimental mahraganat wizard 3Phaz’s ‘Cluster Drum’ — which dropped via Ma3azef on September 3rd — also stands out on did you mean: irish through his trademark high-energy style, and 3Phaz once again spins traditional chaabi rhythms into a staggeringly cacophonous beat, with swirling mizmaar-inspired synthesizer work and blistering percussion rolls.

It’s tough to really pick the standout moment of did you mean: irish across countless genres and experimentations, and especially considering the incredible contributions by artists including Abadir, Onsy, El Nather, Kareem Lotfy, and El Kontessa. Rama & ZULI really hit it out of the park with did you mean: irish, gathering an extensive list of some of the regions most hard hitting voices in a way that feels organic and genuine. Like a low-key jam session between friends, did you mean: irish is bursting with personality, with rarely a moment spent stagnant or able to be pinned-down to any one genre. With more IRSH compilations being teased for the future, we’re eager to see how this foray into the region's electronic underworld continues to develop.

did you mean: irish is available for stream & purchase on Bandcamp

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