Published Dec 09, 2014
10. Fatima Al Qadiri
Undeniably, music about music can be satisfying on a meta level, especially for music nerds, but Fatima Al Qadiri's intriguing Asiatisch this year stood out for having some deep content behind it. Conceptualised as a virtual tour through a future, dominant China seen through Western eyes, Asiatisch reads almost like a William Gibson novel in album form. As Al Qadiri was born in Senegal, raised in Kuwait and divides her time as an artist living between London and New York but has never been to China, the fact that she constructed an album about an imaginary China may seem surprising. But that's in essence what the album's about — Chinese motifs as absorbed by popular Western culture.
Whether it's the re-appropriation of an inappropriate song from the musical Lady and the Tramp or subtle references to colonialism found in Chinese restaurants, Al Qadiri digs deep into Western preconceptions of Asia and China. Asiatisch is also an excellently produced album that cleverly mines Hyperdub's short-lived sinogrime sub-genre, but its real coup is to remind us how much music, in the right hands, can inspire us to tap into and deconstruct preconceived notions of nationality and culture, all while moving us to tap our fingers. (Vincent Pollard)