Z3TH3R, an Oakland-based instrumentalist and producer, has teamed up with Zimbabwean recording artist Ulenni Okandlovu for two new reflective singles: "Goodbye" and "What It Means." Z3TH3R's solo project was inspired by a range of influences, from nature field recordings to alternative guitars and 808 beats. Z3TH3R continues to explore sonic soundscapes with the help of fellow recording artists like Okandlovu, who is the founder and lead vocalist of the experimental duo Bantu Spaceships.
The recently paired artists recently released their two singles, "Goodbye" and "What It Means." Okandlovu explains the former as "a prayer for loved ones to endure and stay strong in tough times." The second song, "What It Means," is said to be "a cry from deep within for those seeking a chance in life," notes the Zimbabwean recording artist.
"Goodbye" opens with a hazy and soft electric guitar melody. As Z3TH3R's production and instrumentals expand into a dreamy and lo-fi sound, Okandlovu makes his vocal appearance while grooving into a smooth rap that reminds listeners to remain strong during such unexpected events turbulent times.
Jumping into the second single, "What It Means," Z3TH3R opens the song with another spacious and celestial sonic soundscape that slowly develops into a heavy and rumbling drum break. Okandlovu showcases his broad vocal stylings in this track while serenading listeners with his sweet falsetto. His airy harmonies add another reflective layer while singing about how everyone deserves an equal chance at life no matter their situation and circumstances.
The overall themes within both singles are reflective and uplifting, providing hope and sweet sonics. When asked about the primary source of inspiration behind the songs, Z3TH3R explained that he was feeling collaboratively isolated during the pandemic and decided to produce a "social distance beat tape" with other artists. Ulenni Okandlovu chose a couple of tracks he liked, emailed Z3TH3R stellar vocals, and then production began.
What resulted was a smooth collaborative process that yielded two beautifully crafted singles. Z3TH3R explains that he wanted the listener to feel the freedom of the road and the swirling thoughts of self-doubt that can come with following one's intuition while listening to "Goodbye." For "What It Means," he aimed to create a war cry that serves as a rising up and grief ritual - a reminder to take care of one another and show love where we can.
Both singles represent the artist's growth and expansion into new realms of creative potential. As he looks forward to releasing more tracks this year with Ulenni Okandlovu and other artists, be sure to follow Z3TH3R and support his work to stay up to date on everything he is creating.