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*** ZamZam 21 bears two long-awaited boom shots from the master of post-national spaces and sonics, EL MAHDY JR. “Last Breath” is a mesmerizing plunge into dark realms, cavernous spaces, and worlds of echo. A gorgeous female Turkish singing voice suspends time, circling and sparring with itself, setting the stage for a massive half step riddim. The huge one-drop is worth the wait, the kick so huge it will suck the air from a room and open a chasm beneath the dance floor. Echoing snares create a hallucinatory space that will have trainspotters and dancers alike calling for rewinds. “Last Breath” has already been championed on dub plate by Kahn, Gantz, Joe Nice, BunZero and many more. “Last Deal” is another 140 bpm power play, bringing Mahdyʼ s love for classic dub and reggae closer to the surface than ever. A huge, sparse riddim guided by a Stalag-style baseline and dancehall-flavored doubling of kick & snare power the tune, leaving plenty of space for vocal flourishes, balmy barnyard ambience, and then a vertiginous plunge into the fevered, cavernous spaces he is known for. This tune has it all, merging the familiar with the strange into an absolutely unique dubwise brew. Of Algerian origin, now living and working in Turkey, El Mahdy Jrʼ s star has risen quickly. His debut LP on Portlandʼ s Boomarm Nation sold out instantly and earned spots on many end-of-year lists, recognized for his wildly original mix of broken, blunted beats and ethnographic sampladelia. Numerous magazine features and subsequent releases on Boomarm, Deep Medi (alongside dubstep star Gantz), and most recently Danse Noire have cemented Mahdyʼ s rep as an artist with an utterly unique vision, grounded in his own lived experience, but unlimited by geography, language, culture or genre constraints.