BOUNCYDUCK, a young emerging experimental producer from Jerusalem, has delivered eloquent sounds of disassociation in his latest LPs.

Hello World, Bye World is a departure, leaving exposed loops in a hypnotic pastiche – detached compositions. Artist Osama Zakaria is direct in talking about his music as embodying the feeling of restriction and depersonalization that accompanies occupation – felt all the more strongly as Israel has tightened its grip, closing off Jerusalem entirely to most Palestinians while further restricting movement.

This one is raw and immediate – from the urgency of “ALT+F4” to the intentionally saccharine, pasted-together “MACHINE LEARNING.” I long said I wondered if prompted AI music would lead humans to try to mimic the AI, and this is exactly that – it’s human production, with no AI involved, but made to sound AI-influenced – like a speculative AI genre. (Also, wow that vocal at 2:40!)

Full description:

“hello world, bye world” is an album that seamlessly intertwines the mechanical precision of digital life with the profound emotions of human existence. This collection of tracks poignantly explores themes of alienation and depersonalization, capturing the essence of feeling like a sentient machine among humans, lost in the search for identity and purpose amidst a chaotic world.

The album begins with “AlT+F4,” an opening track that conveys urgency and the desire to escape the confines of a programmed existence. Mechanical beats and synthetic melodies immerse listeners in the dichotomy of human emotion and robotic precision, encapsulating the feeling of being a cog in a vast, impersonal machine.

As the journey continues, “ZERO” delves into the void of emptiness and isolation. Stark soundscapes reflect the desolation of feeling disconnected from oneself and others, a recurring theme throughout the album. The track’s minimalist approach underscores the profound sense of nothingness that accompanies depersonalization.

“MALWARE” introduces a darker, more insidious element to the narrative. Its glitchy textures and fragmented rhythms symbolize the internal disruptions that distort one’s sense of self. The track captures the unsettling experience of identity being compromised by external forces, much like a computer system infiltrated by malicious software.

In “MACHINE LEARNING,” the album explores the paradox of self-improvement and self-awareness through artificial means. The relentless, automated rhythms convey the struggle to maintain a sense of identity in a world where human experiences are increasingly mediated by technology. It’s a reflection on the tension between genuine self-discovery and the algorithmic paths laid out by digital influences.

“ALGORITHM STILL INTACT,” confronts the stark reality of resilience amidst adversity. Far from a beacon of hope, it reflects the relentless persistence of systems that perpetuate alienation and disconnection. Its steady beats and haunting melodies serve as a reminder of the challenges inherent in navigating a world dominated by technology and predetermined paths.

“HOW, LOVE, SELF” offers a moment of introspection and vulnerability, inviting listeners to contemplate the intricacies of love and self-discovery in a world that often feels disconnected and impersonal.

Throughout “hello world, bye world”, the electric vibes and computer-themed song titles create an immersive experience that resonates with anyone who has felt out of place or detached from their own existence. This album is a cathartic exploration of depersonalization, using the language of technology to express the profound human struggle to find meaning and belonging in an increasingly automated and alienating world. Let the music guide you through this enigmatic journey, offering solace and understanding as you navigate your own path to self-discovery. 


released May 26, 2024

Painting: Tayseer Barakat
Production, Mixing And Mastering: Osama Zakaria

To my ear, the release from Osama that connects the most is the haunting LP IN THE LIFE OF A PALESTINIAN PRISONER – particularly the brutality of “in prison” and “after prison.” The latter has its own electrified violence in the use of sound.

Here’s what Osama says about this:

من حياة الأسير الفلسطيني هو ألبوم بيحكي عن معاناة الأسرى في سجون الإحتلال الإسرائيلي، من تعذيب جسدي ونفسي إلى غيره من الأساليب المستعملة لطمس الهويّة الفلسطينيّة اللّي بخاف منها هدا الإحتلال. حاولت بكل جهدي إنّي أبيّن شدّة وهول إنّك تكون في سجون الإحتلال. حسّيت أكتر إشي أقرب إلي وبقدر أمثله بالأغاني تبعتي هو الألم النّفسي اللّي بمرّوا فيه الأسرى، حاولت أظهر مشاعر الجوع، الوحدانيّة، الأمراض النفسيّة من كتر التعذيب والحبس الإنفرادي، التجويع، التهديد بالقتل المستمر. الألبوم هدا رح يكون هدفه جمع تبرّعات للنّاس المحتاجة اللّي عارفين كلنا مين هم. بتمنّى يعجبكم، وأكون أعطيت صوت للّي صوتهم مش مسموع. IN THE LIFE OF A PALESTINIAN PRISONER, it’s an album that talks about the suffering of prisoners in the occupied country, be it the physical, or the mental torture, which aims to oppress the palestinian identity which can’t be oppressed. I tried with all my might to portray the obscene and horrifying nature of this prison life. Knowing myself, I thought that in order for me to do that, I had to stick with the mental health issues, because that’s the thing that I can convey best with my music. I tried to show the feelings of hunger and loneliness, to show the mental health issues because of the daily torture and the daily threatening of killing the prisoners. This album aims to collect funds for the people in need, which we all know who they are. I hope you like it, and I hope that I did my part giving the unhearble, heard. credits

Rasha Al Jundi’s beautiful embroidery is layered atop the album art:

The prisoner issue remains at the top of the headlines; just in the last couple of days, there’s a new report on mistreatment by NGO Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor. The Palestinian Al Mezan Center for Human Rights released harrowing testimonies in April; Israeli organization Physicians for Human Rights Israel published in a February report systematic abuses in incarceration and detention facilities, writing that “forced disappearances, torture, and severe violations of human rights, particularly in terms of health, are now inherent in the practices and policies of Israeli security bodies responsible for Palestinians in custody.” That includes abuses in the detention system, in the occupied West Bank as well as Gaza, which enables long-term detention without any charge whatsoever. Associated Press noted that the level of detentions had reached a three-decade high in August 2023before the October 7 attacks, after which arbitrary detentions have spiked. (See Amnesty International’s November report.) So for anyone wanting to argue about October 7, we’re talking about conditions impacting all occupied Palestinian territories, people detained without charge, and people detained and abused before October 7 even happened. (Today the number arrested in the West Bank hit 9000 since October 7, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society.)

All of that context is important – for anyone in the west fretting about not wanting to be “too political” with their music, it’s not stopping people living inside the issue. That’s not to say that we should be reducing Palestinian artists to their political meaning, either. I hope we support them in whatever they want to make, and I really hope I get to see a Palestinian scene after occupation. Music for all of us is a way of putting emotions into form.

The annihilation of Gaza has pushed even basic survival past the edge of possibility. For East Jerusalem and the West Bank under occupation, too, musical practice has become difficult since the 7th of October – both with internal and external pressure. (It wasn’t fantastically easy before, either, whatever Internet hype you might see.) But I think listening to BOUNCYDUCK’s music and description, you also get a sense of how music can be meaningful.

I really appreciate how much Osama has opened up about his feelings on these issues and been bold in making them a topic of the music. And a release like Hello World, Bye World also reveals how music can be a means to exploring personal realities, beyond what fits in a report or even words.