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ayshay - Warn-U
Without a doubt, Ayshay's 'WARN-U' is one of the most original and spellbinding singles of 2011, and an artistic step-up for the already formidable Tri Angle imprint. Ayshay, meaning "whatever" in Arabic, is a handle for Fatima Al Qadiri, a New York City-based sonic sorceress born in Senegal and raised in Kuwait, who also writes a fantastic column on contemporary world music for the bizarro DIS magazine, sometimes accompanied by her kaleidoscopic, 'net-foraging mixtapes. These breathtaking tracks comprise her first release, and although we've become deeply familiar with their youtube videos for over a year now, it's a blessing to finally have them in the physical realm for tactile gratification. Each song is built entirely from her own pitched and layered vocals in a manner distinctly reminiscent of Grouper's ethereal harmonising, but more intriguingly inspired by the Islamic religious songs she's absorbed since childhood. Their impact distinctly recalls the emotion-enhancing autotune effect favoured by so many North African and Middle Eastern pop artists for its emphatic effect, but is still seen as distasteful in certain swathes of supposedly "forward thinking" western ears. Yet in our opinion it refracts a transcendent emotive clarity which frightens us to be quite honest, and keeps us returning to this trio of songs more times than a sane person possibly should. Furthermore, the accompanying Nguzunguzu megamix gives the tracks a crafty junglist context in a lineage of Arabic pop/hardcore dating back to the likes of Lennie De Ice sampling Factory Records' obscure Algerian Rai release 'N'Sel Fik' by Cheba Fadela. Ultimately, for seekers of mystical sublime frequencies from the near future, this record is just beyond essential.