Fatima Al Qadiri Brute Hyperdub
There’s no keeping Fatima Al Qadiri quiet. And why would we want to? Her last few efforts — 2014’s Asiatisch album and 2012’s Fade to Mind-released Desert Strike EP – have been testaments to the Kuwaiti-born, New York-based producer’s ineffable nerve when it comes to confronting intense, complex socio-political issues.
Her latest, Brute, an 11-track LP released via Hyperdub, is no different. If the cover art, which features a Josh Kline sculpture of a teletubby in riot gear (entitled Po-Po, get it?) isn’t enough indication, opening track Endzone samples recordings from the Ferguson riots, setting the tone for an album that explores the nervous adrenaline of protest and the darkness of police brutality.
The slow, melancholy strains of tracks such as Fragmentation are pretty and contemplative, and lead track Battery channels a sense of anti-establishment energy. But that said, the album’s formulaic sound – dark ambient textures punctuated by restrained fragments of grime – starts to feel exhausting quite quickly. Blood Moon calls to mind Al Qadiri’s Szechuan, off Asiatisch (or is it something from Desert Strike?), while Curfew could be a mutation of her dub production, Knight Fare. While the music of Brute is at no points devoid of atmosphere or emotion and Al Qadiri’s message is spoken loud and clear, it’s a little disappointing that she’s employed such a similar soundscape across projects with major thematic differences.