Saturday, 21 June 2014

What have I been listening to?

Let me tell you about three artists I have been listening to recently: Fatima Al Qadiri, SZA and Kelela. I have been listening to these three artists solidly and solely for the last few weeks, if that explains my current infatuation with their music at all.


I'm not sure how I came across this artist, but I am pretty certain I read/heard her name somewhere and immediately had look her up- because of her distinctively Arabic name. I was expecting something quite Yasmine Hamdan, someone who sung in Arabic but popular in the West for her weird, sultry, musical style. Instead I got something more in tune with Grimes, deeply layered, synth heavy, creepy and with no/limited vocals. Her music sounds like someone who has spent far too long playing video games and in doing so, has found them self lost in a disturbing melodic narrative. And that's exactly what Fatima Al Qadiri's music is. To quote 'Pitchfork' on her EP Desert Strike Al Qadiri says "The record is dedicated to this sci-fi period of my childhood- surviving the invasion of Kuwait, the war, and then playing a video game based on those events a year later." Desert Strike is what I have been listening to the most with the songs 'Desert Strike', 'Hydra' and 'Oil Well' being my favourites. Despite the lack of vocals, her music captures something deeply dark and poetic, whilst being unique in its own brand of  futuristic, steely electronica.
Here is 'Oil Well':

SZA sounds like a mix between Erykah Badu, FKA Twigs and The Weeknd, with a musical style that alternates between the subdued and raspy. Her music has a  dream- like, highly emotive tenderness to it, that sounds like modern R&B evolved. I've been listening to her EP 'Z' the most, with the tracks 'Warm Winds' (in particular the second part) and 'Babylon' being my favourites. 'Babylon' also features the rapper Kendrick Lamar but I think I prefer the version without him, because SZA's vocals are best enjoyed without any extra additions, unless they are in harmony with hers.

 Here is 'Babylon' :

Kelela is my favourite out of the three and probably my favourite female vocalist at the moment. She sounds like pure honey and her music could be the love child of Aaliyah and Little Dragon...which is totally, 100% up my alley. Despite the 90s R&B throwback of her style, Her mixtape 'CUT 4 ME' features the grime induced number 'Enemy' and although not really being a fan of grime at all (aggressive in a messy way) its amazing with her American lilt and vocal range. And the synth-y, spooky 'Do it Again' which I am not sure what to classify as being. However my favourite on the album is 'Floor Show', which makes me sing and dance along at the same, despite the coldness of it (sunglasses are probably needed as to not look too enthusiastic).

'Here is Floor Show'