LESS IS MOOR
Over the past seven years Zebra Katz (the stage moniker of Ojay Morgan) has been slinking in the shadows of popular music, collaborating with Gorillaz, releasing several EPs independently. After his explosive 2012 hit “IMA READ”, this seemed like radio silence. For years his voice singing “ZEBRA FUCKING KAAATZ” reverberated in my head at the least opportune moments. 2020 sees a triumphant return in his first full length album, LESS IS MOOR.
In a 2013 interview with the Guardian, Morgan discussed the frustrations of being a Black artist and scholar in a white industry. He wrote a thesis on Moors in the plays of William Shakespeare, and was met with the time-old requests to play Caliban. No wonder this resulted in a song about reading/schooling his peers. Morgan’s thinking about European depictions of North African Moors but also the way in which the term places white expectations on Black people has continued. On LESS IS MOOR he contends with a glamour and a darkness that are two sides of the same coin as a celebrated queer Black artist. It’s harrowing to hear him say “I’m feeling myself to death” on “ZAD DRUMS.” As with most tracks on this album, the beat is pounding and infectious, but it’s paired with a message of caution or signal of danger.
Zebra Katz has really devoted himself to the creation of a rich soundscape. It’s ominous and disintegrating before you, and through this air, Zebra Katz whispers to you and you alone. Some tracks, like “IN IN IN” and “ZAD DRUMS” hold the ballroom thumping, window smashing energy of “IMA READ,” while “BLUSH” and “ISH” show Morgan’s long standing interest in electronic music. The incredible range of the music Zebra Katz explores and quotes from makes for an incredible dark quarantine dance party.
LESS IS MOOR is out tomorrow, Friday, 20 March. Check it out!