Sydney-based DJ, producer, and vocalist ZEFGIRLCLUB (one of our 2018 Artists to Watch) has just released her debut EP, DELIVERANCE. Over the course of the EP, which includes three new original songs and a remix by Isserley, ZEFGIRLCLUB guides us through a descent into her twisted underworld club. Assembling disparate elements from club, industrial, darkwave, and ambient, DELIVERANCE is another singular release from the Sidechains member.
Opener ‘Faith In Lies’ starts things off innocently enough—chittering samples bubble away in the periphery, a chime synth echoes in the distance like a lullaby. Then her vocals come in—sickly-sweet and sinister, pitched-up and layered—gesturing to something far more ominous coming. As soon as the stuttering, pounding-on-the-trapdoor kickdrum breaks into the mix, it’s clear that there’s nothing innocent about the track, in a move that appears to be a signature of her style—playing with the listener’s expectations and shocking them with deliciously uncomfortable dissonance. The remix of ‘Faith In Lies’ by Isserley turns things up a notch, approaching the track from a club perspective and rolling out the 4/4. It’s particularly satisfying to hear a remix that makes great use of the track’s original vocals, creating a distinctive rhythmic interplay.
‘Possession’ and ‘Remission’ round out the EP, exploring a wider range of her brooding sonic palette. ‘Possession’ makes use of plucked synths that are sharp and incisive, with minimal percussion and prominent sub bass. The instrumental underpins the rap-like vocals , whose distorted layers and sampling make for a satisfying follow-up to such a strong opening track. ‘Remission’ on the other hand is half-lidded and hypnagogic, emerging from soothing pads into a rolling kickdrum, hats that sounds like a knife being sharpened, muttering vocal samples and hints of glockenspiel.
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Overall, DELIVERANCE makes for an intriguing and well-rounded debut EP—a satisfying world of sound with internal consistency and style that is rare to come by, especially so early in a project. It’s a sound that leaves you wanting more, that makes you wonder what an longer release might summon up—fingers crossed it comes soon enough.
Words by MICHAEL STRATFORD HUTCH