This week, I received an e-mail with the subject “zouassi zouassi zouassi.” The body of the e-mail contained a link to the video below and a short message: “thank you for watching. id be honored to appear on P&P.” Lacking any sort of context and curious about what something called “zouassi” might sound like (it’s hard to fully explain the chemical process that leads to opening e-mails that I might, on other days, delete), I gave the video a shot.
Intrigued, but still uncertain, I checked out Zouassi’s YouTube channel, which featured one other video, the audio-only “Heavy Bones” (which you can hear below). I pressed play and immediately wanted to know more. I reached out to the e-mailer (who turned out to be the mind behind Zouassi) and got a bit more detail:
“Zouassi is a project where I plan to collaborate with talented and creative individuals across the internet to deliver interesting and new sounds/visuals/experiences. The first song, entitled ‘Heavy Bones,’ features an extremely talented singer named Oshea Adams-Levy…I am a producer and will do these collaborations exclusively online. I’m amazed by the potential of the Internet to bring together creative ideas that lead to a greater sum.”
Zouassi had previously released music under the alias “air drops” (check out single “Bom Bali Bast” below), but, simply, “[he] felt like doing something a bit different and decided to start a new project.”
“Heavy Bones” (an instrumental previously called “JEJUNE,” available on the ep he released as air drops) provides a neat encapsulation of Zouassi’s satisfyingly wide-ranging sound. At turns tropical, smooth, pulsing, hazy, and epic, Zouassi’s music is varied and intricate, ideas ans sounds rising, colliding, and disappearing with a frequency that makes “Heavy Bones” feel much bigger than its three minute run-time. With gauzy synths, ethereal vocals, driving drums, and points of influence as varied as Washed Out, Jai Paul, and mainstream hip-hop (check out the odd slowed down instrumental minimix below “Heavy Bones,” which features beats from Diddy and Young Buck singles), Zouassi creates an engaging stew of sounds that’s hard to precisely pin down with any one subgenre title.
Forget classification; get lost in “Heavy Bones.”