Album review: Fatima Al Qadiri – Asiatisch
Fatima Al Qadiri
Geographically pinning down Fatima Al Qadiri – raised in Kuwait but now based between London and New York – isn’t straightforward, even before you hit play on her otherworldly, Chinese-fixated debut album.
That Asiatisch is German for “Asian” provides some guidance. Yet darker inspirations lurk among the undergrowth of her Sino-themed, Euro-influenced electronic landscapes: shards of grime’s icy bass and sparse percussion; ghosts of Amon Tobin or Björk’s explorative extremes. Asiatisch’s introduction is Shanzhai, named – with a wink – after a term for Chinese bootleg goods.
It’s a remarkable cover of Nothing Compares 2 U (made famous by Sinéad O’Connor), reworded in deliberately nonsensical Mandarin by its guest vocalist, Helen Feng. Elsewhere, Al Qadiri has labelled Szechaun “my Chinese-restaurant track”, but expect paranoid flashbacks should you ever dine in such a claustrophobic, flute-haunted establishment.
Having previously released a triptych of Islamic-inspired EPs under the alias Ayshay, Al Qadiri appears to have blossomed into an artist for whom boundaries – be they international or sonic – are rendered moot. Asiatisch sounds like little else out there right now.