Ben Zaidi's album Abandonism dropped June 7. Jeffrey Rose

Seattle musician Ben Zaidi's music is made for the bedroom. It immediately evokes the early work of James Blake or Justin Vernon. His song "cherrypiccing"—a moody, trap-lite, sad-boy cut off his 2018 EP All/Alone—was featured on Spotify's "Chill Vibes" playlist, a good indication this dude has minimalist electronica down pat.

But when Zaidi started pressing buttons in front of the crowd at a packed performance space in the International District a few months ago, introducing his then-unreleased single "Shambles," a different kind of sound filled the air.

The track felt fleshy and grand—its sensibility broader than a bedroom, ripe for a producer to remix or a rapper to flow over. While Zaidi incorporated much of his signature electronic sounds and layered pitched-shifted vocals over his own craggy voice, the structure of this composition sounded surer, an exciting new development for this poet-turned-producer/musician/songwriter.

This change of pace is a result of Zaidi's collaboration with Seattle producer Josh Karp (who works under the name Budo). Karp has a long working relationship with the city's premier rapper Macklemore, having written and produced a chunk of songs off Macklemore's most recent record, Gemini. Zaidi, who splits his time between New York and Seattle, collaborated with Karp by sending demos back and forth across the country.

"We started growing these seeds of songs together, and then finally we were like, 'We've got to really make this thing,'" Zaidi told me over the phone recently. "We thought it was going to be three or four songs for an EP."

After a few weeks of recording, the result wasn't an EP, but a full-blown album, Abandonism, which dropped on June 7. Zaidi, who recently signed to Universal Music Group subsidiary Antifragile Music, told me the inspiration for the title of the album came out of his and Karp's interest in the multiple interpretations of the word "abandon."

"When you're young, you really believe in your independence and your free-spiritedness. You want to give everything to that," Zaidi explained. "But later, you usually come to terms with a kind of sickness inherent in being so carefree that you abandon people or abandon things that you know are important to you or matter."

Abandonism sonically and lyrically grapples with this idea. The record incorporates audio clips (most notably, one of celebrity radio host Dr. Drew chatting with... DMX) and, surprisingly, a lot of horns. Set opener "Independence Day" kind of meanders and unfurls itself to you. Zaidi told me he wrote it while sequestered away in Vermont to focus on his art, reflecting on what it means to be truly independent.

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"Set in Stone," which features vocalist Parissa Tosif of Vallis Alps, has a bright, light Caribbean flavor, like a blissed-out Drake track featuring a sax, while Karp's experience working with Macklemore shines through on cuts like "Painful to Be," which is anchored by a jangly piano and gives off heavy "My City's Filthy" vibes. Overall, Abandonism tries on many different hats, but it consistently manages to pack a punch.

Zaidi and Budo will take the record out on the road later this year.