Reading Fatima Al Qadiri’s interviews regarding debut Hyperdub release Asiatisch, and looking at her past EPs (both conceptual), it’s obvious that she is one of those very serious artistes. Sure, other producers belonging in the same grime and garage circle had their moments before. None however, made a record that has the cold, clinical detachment of a thesis like Asiatisch does.
This is because she isn’t interested in parlaying her personal issues into the stuff of intense discussion (rightfully so) — Fatima Al Qadiri is more scholarly this way. This isn’t a slight by any means, the LP does inspire admiration through its lofty ambition; a sinogrime distillation of Orientalism. This treatise, given her trademark sci-fi-esque dystopian sound, makes for music that’s on the same thought wavelength as China Mielville and Grant Morrison, fiction writers whose works are concerned about the future, technology, globalism, and the sociopolitical shifts and weirdness that come with them.
Album opener ‘Shanzhai (For Shanzhai Biennial)’ features the vocals of native Mandarin speaker Helen Feng, singing a phonetic imitation of ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ in said language. It is with the album’s very first track listeners are informed that yes, Fatima Al Qadiri goes all the way when committing to an artistic vision.
LISTEN TO: ‘Dragon Tattoo’
IF YOU LIKE THIS YOU’LL DIG: Adam Kasturi