“Nothing is sacred as far as audio is concerned anymore.”
Clash Magazine - Fatima Al Qadiri by Dom Smith

Fatima Al Qadiri's twisted appropriations are neither one thing nor another

Remix albums have got a bad rep. Just ask Fatima Al Qadiri, the Kuwait-raised/Brooklyn-based artist whose latest EP ‘GSX Remixes’ should erase memories of Rihanna’s ‘Rated R Remixed’ forevermore. “I'm interested in the remix album format ‘cause it’s this hangover from the ‘90s,” explains Fatima from her apartment in Brooklyn’s Dominican quarter. “It was just a marketing scheme to sell a record twice, you know? It’s a shitty formula that I wanted to try my hand at.”

‘GSX Remixes’ is the latest in a line of appropriative works from the globally-minded artist, whose musical experiments began with the “little melodies” she wrote on a Casio as a nine-year-old growing up in Kuwait. The remix disc takes a squiffy look at Fatima’s already palimpsest-like ‘Genre-Specific Xperience’ EP (UNO, 2011), which reinterpreted Gregorian trance, dubstep, hip hop, electro-tropicalia and juke in five tracks which are not quite of the genre they use as their starting point, but not not of them either. The standout is the anxious trance-chant ‘Vatican Vibes’, where Gregorian hymnals bleed into the creepy plinking of Logic steel drums with the jarring asymmetry of a dial-up modem. In the phenomenal accompanying video by New York-based artist Tabor Robak, Catholic consecration becomes the mission of a bioengineering HD video game (“Holy Prepuce Acquired!” reads one inter-title).

Fatima came to prominence at the tail-end of 2011 when she released the ‘WARN-U’ EP on Tri Angle Records under the name Ayshay. She twisted Islamic chants into sighing, ambient soundscapes that sound as forebodingly beautiful as their “fucked up” Arabic samples on the subject of massacres. The use of sacred hymns was decried as blasphemous by “people who are religious or square”, but Fatima now shrugs off their accusations as “bullshit”. “I grew up with this music!” she laughs. “Nothing is sacred as far as audio is concerned anymore.” Or, as ‘ayshay’ translates in English: ‘whatever’.

Words by Owen Myers
Photo by Dom Smith

‘GSX Remixes’ is out on UNO now.

The full version of this interview appears in the August 2012 issue of Clash Magazine.

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