Son Raw distilled the appeal of Fatima Al Qadiri’s sound when he wrote about her a year ago: those are the chillest 808 booms you’ll ever hear and the steel drums are straight up haunting. It also adds gravity that Qadiri has one of the better narratives you’ll hear this year: she’s Senegalese-born to Kuwaiti parents educated in Russia, and lived in eight cities before deciding that she’s Brooklyn’s own. For now.
It’s this narrative that’s helped propel her beyond the ranks of the producers on the Tri Angle and Fade to Mind labels who have released her last two records. Holy Other ain’t getting Gawker features. But then again, none of the Witch House coven have ever devoted a record to the inspiration inculcated by the Sega MegaDrive game: Desert Strike Return to the Gulf. In and of itself this is a landmark for modern music sparked by outdated gaming systems. I look forward to concept records based on Bonk’s Revenge from TurboGrafx 16, Baseball Stars from Neo-Geo, and the Kriss Kross Make My Video Game from Sega CD.
The Desert Strike EP is only five songs, none of which exceed the 2:30 mark, but the focus is laser-guided like the high priced weaponry it channels. This is about the vapors and vacuums created by war. You can almost picture the choking sand storms and explosive light shows. Synthesizers sound like siren songs or funereal hymns. You hear the clicks of rifles cocking and shell cases hitting the floor. And those steel drums deployed with just the right amount of restraint. It’s a record with a violent beauty. And I even made it all the way through this post without making a bad soon-to-be-hopelessly dated hurricane reference.