Fatima Al Qadiri returns to Hyperdub for her 2nd album Brute. Made from the perspective of her transnational experience, her new record explores the theme of authority, the relationship between police, citizens and protest worldwide, particularly of her adopted home in the United States.
Musically, Brute teeters between rage and despair, manifesting in restrained percussion, sampled and processed recordings of urban protest, and the signature minor progressions that distinguish Al Qadiri’s body of work. Reflecting on the carceral state (Oubliette), the militarization of police (Endzone, Curfew), the fragile boundaries between defense and the deadly use of force (Battery, 10-34), and the relentless violation of the dignity of protesters and activists (Breach, Blows, Fragmentation), the record is a sombre tribute to lost life and agency.
The album art is a detail of the sculpture Po-Po (2015) by Josh Kline, heavily altered by art director Babak Radboy. Reimagining a popular children’s show character as a militarized SWAT officer with implanted surveillance technology, Radboy subjects Po- Po to extreme image processing, situating the installation photo as a still from a fictitious blockbuster.
As a tribute to those on the front lines of protest and a condemnation of neoliberal fascism, Brute provides a chilling sonic backdrop to a world of normalised brutality, a painful illumination of the facade of democracy.