Fatima. Ruhail Qaisar. Danse Noire

Posted in books, music on February 27th, 2023 by admin
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48-page book with photographic documentation, lyrics & additional context
Includes a download code for the album

Design by Niels Wehrspann
Translation work by Aastha Gupta, Sheraz Ahmed, Abdur Rahman Jerral, Tazyne Fatima, and Asad Sheikh

Ruhail Qaisar’s Fatima is a requiem for a dead future. The debut album release by the self-taught artist and producer screams with the trauma and decay of life in his hometown of Leh—a high-altitude plateau region in the contested Ladakh area, extending from the Himalayan to the Kunlun Ranges. Qaisar absorbs this external condition of perpetual conflict between nation states into his internal life and resulting compositions, crossing sound art, noise music and experimental filmmaking. Hauntological drones, power electronics and convulsive post-industrial dissonance create an unnerving sense of fear, anger, and alienation. A broken transistor with a knob tuned to the abyss is bombarded with the cries and bitter laughter of a city’s inhabitants tyrannized, not only by military occupation but the soft-power subjugation of the tourism industry.

Following 2016’s Ltalam EP—released under Qaisar’s now-defunct Sister moniker—Fatima serves to transmit memories carried through the events, local mythos and personal recollections of growing up between the remote agrarian villages of Ladakh and the urban center of its joint capital—Leh. The album was mixed between that area, and a DIY home studio in New Delhi, where the artist amalgamates his collected found sounds and field recordings into unrecognizable hybrids. Discordant pads and atmospherics on the dark ambient of Daily Hunger is disrupted by a crashing, pounding reverb, while contributor Elvin Brandhi shrieks towards its horrifying conclusion in the squelching, scratching sound of something soft being chewed.

An anti-lingual conjuring of metaphysical totems in music, Fatima is a seething chronicle of experience through the dynamics of riots, violence, colonization, unemployment, PTSD, and self-abuse. The cycling tumult of Namgang hosts a menacing whisper that echoes the hissing fury of something like Einstürzende Neubauten and Lydia Lunch’s Thirsty Animal, while a trouncing distorted bass line on Fatima’s Poplar circles a voice that barks, The Western Civilization Show has been discontinued.

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