Release Date 03/04/2016
(Hyperdub Records) CMJ
brute; plural noun: brutesa savagely violent person or animal.origin: late Middle English (as an adjective): from Old French brut(e),from Latin brutus ‘dull, stupid.’
“You are no longer peacefully assembling,” announces the voice of an officer on a LongRange Acoustic Device (LRAD), a sonic weapon employed by riot police, capable ofdeafening a target by exceeding humane levels. Both a corporeal and symbolic tool ofviolence, the LRAD violates the physiological space between state control and the bodyusing amplified sound. Fatima Al Qadiri returns to Hyperdub for her 2nd album Brute. Made from theperspective of her transnational experience, her new record explores the theme ofauthority, the relationship between police, citizens and protest worldwide, particularly ofher 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 minorprogressions that distinguish Al Qadiri’s body of work. Reflecting on the carceral state(Oubliette), the militarization of police (Endzone, Curfew), the fragile boundariesbetween defense and the deadly use of force (Battery, 10-34), and the relentlessviolation of the dignity of protesters and activists (Breach, Blows, Fragmentation), therecord 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 byart director Babak Radboy. Reimagining a popular children's show character as amilitarized SWAT officer with implanted surveillance technology, Radboy subjects Po-Po to extreme image processing, situating the installation photo as a still from a fictitiousblockbuster.
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, apainful illumination of the facade of democracy.