Aïsha Devi cuts an unusual figure in electronic music. Her self-described “hi-fi shamanism” swings vicariously from a soft lull to vibrant explosions of colour and genre, stretching her voice around avant-garde electronics. Through her unpredictable sound, as well as the “ritual music” of her Danse Noir label, Devi has carved a singular approach; fusing the transcendent possibilities of the club with the vibrant force of her own spiritual enlightenment.
The Swiss-Nepalese artist, formerly known as Kate Wax, released EPs and albums for the likes of Border Community before more recently adopting her birth name. This new moniker has been the outlet for a series of releases exploring themes as diverse as throat singing, gabba and the patriarch. As she explains, “taking it back is a kind of self-acceptance, an inner peace deal.”
Following this self-embrace, her sound has harnessed a certain visceral power. Her Conscious Cunt EP was dedicated to her late grandmother who raised her, exploring “sluts, awareness, death and women in a patriarchal society.” In her recent album Of Matter And Spirit, released through fabric-affiliated label Houndstooth, Devi explores “how disharmonised our society is, the obsolescence of our lifestyle, our short-term vision of contentment and desire fulfillment.” Named after a book by her grandfather, a CERN employed scientist, Of Matter… surveys “how empty and consumerist our modern icons and idolisations are.”
The result is a lucid trance. With metallic clangs jolting you out of its meditative sprawl, and candied vocals against industrial churns, it’s a wild and ambitious effort, one driven by her journey into a new consciousness. “Meditation helped me find an organic, essential pulse in my music,” she tells us. “I realised how each individual can transcend, rise self-empowerment, politic involvement, ecologic awareness and its impact on the world’s mutation.” A talented producer with big ideas, Aïsha Devi is crafting something exhilaratingly and unique. She’s quietly confident too; as she sees it, “the revolution will be spiritual.”