Inspired by the classical poems of Arab women, Fatima Al Quadiri’s Medieval Femme uses the metaphor of an Islamic garden to craft an otherworldly soundscape on the border of depression and desire, light and darkness. The 10-track record uses instrumentation emblematic of the past and recasts it in a futuristic setting to create the feeling of longing. Soft-synth lutes, organs, and pipes echo against one another, while Al Qadiri’s vocals of repetitive, mantra-like phrases are pitched and distorted to haunting effect.
“Malak”, the record’s single, features a clattering soundscape of intricate oud (Arabic lute) picking and droning synths, as Al Quadiri sings in Arabic, “Oh angel of the prophets/ Take me with you/ To the gate of wing/ to the garden of kings/ in a sea of roses”. On “Tasakuba” (“Spilling”), Al Quadiri’s voice is front and centre against a hazy, minimalist soundscape. She recites a verse from the 7th century poet Al-Khansa: “Oh my eye/ Why do you not weep/ Like a waterfall/ At these desolating times.” In our current state of global longing, Medieval Femme propels us to transtemporal, dreamlike worlds of boundless possibilities.
Elsewhere, rising hyperpop star COBRAH has dropped her second EP, Jayda G releases a nostalgia-tinted mix, and SEBii’s release is an angsty, glitchy delight.