When Nabihah Iqbal dropped debut LP Weighing of the Heart in late 2017, it made clear her debt to post-punk and gauzy dream pop.
These were, the long-time NTS regular explained, the influences that percolated throughout her upbringing in London – and the guitar-based direction was greeted with critical acclaim. The shift in sound also aligned with her assuming her birth name and leaving her previous moniker, Throwing Shade, in a bid to heighten visibility of of Asian artists within the arts. A decision that proved all the more pertinent when one white critic berated Weighing of the Heart for not meeting their expectations of music made by an Asian artist (the article has since been deleted, but you can read Iqbal’s response here).
In light of that episode, Iqbal’s mix for Crack Magazine is every bit as variegated as you’d imagine, and a further side-stepping of expectation. Curtain raiser aside (the mix kicks off with an instrumental of Lullaby by The Cure), Iqbal steers clear of her album’s greyscale palette and instead lays down a soulful and uplifting set of piano house classics, sax-driven Afrobeat reworks and blissed out Roy Ayers re-rubs, all given a distinct peak-time spin.
What’s the idea behind this mix?
It’s been ages since I recorded a DJ mix so I just wanted to make this a fun, upbeat one that you can dance to.
Can you walk us through the process of recording the mix?
Making a mix takes ages. I spent a while compiling a list of all the tracks I potentially wanted to use, and then I had a go on my decks to see what worked and that helped me finalise the track choice and order. Then I recorded it in my studio.
What are some of the standout tracks to you and why did you choose them?
Paraiso 89 by Azura, Frankie Knuckles’ Hallucinogenic mix of Chaka Khan, Pears by Sage and Words Just Ain’t Enough by Braga Circuit. These are some of my favourite tracks to play out in clubs at the moment.
Have any tracks or sounds used in this mix informed your debut album?
Probably the first one, which is an extended dance mix of Lullaby by The Cure.