22nd Century Girl

22nd Century Girl

22nd Century Girl


The best way to describe Fatima Al-Qadiri’s music is ‘traditional-Muslim-hymn-meets-early-Warp-Records’.

I like Fatima Al-Qadiri. In a time when making music is accessible to nearly everyone and we’re swamped with identikit artists, she stands out as truly interesting. Rather than adhering to the constraints and norms of a single genre, she creates hybrids from juxtaposed styles, each project intelligently conceptualized, bridging the gap between art and dance music. Always sourcing the globe for new genres to fuse, from Ivory Coast Coupé-Décalé to Albanian pop, it is executed with the utmost sincerity and not with a hint of pretension.

A portion of Al-Qadiri’s many musical influences come from her childhood, during isolation in the Gulf War. Unable to leave the house, she was stuck indoors playing endless console games, their melancholic 8-bit melodies a soundtrack to the apocalypse going on around her. ‘War Games’ is a track from the Desert Strike EP (2012, Fade To Mind) in which this presence is most bold.

The Desert Strike EP, is in fact, named after the 1992 Sega Mega Drive game thinly disguised as a replay of the then recently ended Gulf War, where in virtual combat American soldiers are heroed for attacking their Eastern counterparts. Al-Qadiri releases soundscapes that recreate a dystopian post-war scene in your head.

Desert Strike features down-tempo minimalist grime instrumentals such as ‘Hydra’ (named after the aircraft), which are comparable to the likes of Night Slugs’ Jam City. The album artwork that accompanies her music is like an early millennial dated view of the future – computer generated cosmic landscapes that you find paired with atmospheric jungle tracks on You Tube.

As if all of that wasn’t enough, Fatima also mixes and produces tracks inspired by Sunni and Shiite Muslim worship songs, under the name Ayshay (which means ‘whatever’ in Arabic). The tracks on Ayshay’s debut EP, Warn-U, are formed entirely of her own voice. It is dance music for the faithful.

You can catch Al-Qadiri in the ‘NOW BABYLON – Architecture and Identity’ mixed media exhibition at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark, which is focusing on Arab visual identities in architecture. She has also been confirmed for 2014’s Sonar festival lineup. Definitely a new XXY favourite, watch this space for more genre-bending projects from Fatima Al-Qadiri.


Text: Lizzy Nicholson