Fatima Al Qadiri’s second solo album is a clear political statement: Brute, which like her 2014 sinogrime-inspired debut Asiatisch arrives via Hyperdub, sees the New York-based, Kuwait-raised artist draw attention to the endangered right of free assembly. Observing current events in the USA over social media while in Kuwait sparked her creative process: the opener introduces the concept with a Youtube live recording of 2014’s Ferguson unrest, a long range acoustic device blasting "you are no longer peacefully assembling”, while ‘Blows’ features an MSNBC news anchor reporting about Occupy Wall Street. Those vocal samples set the scene of the album, and the concept is followed through consistently with track names like '10-34’ – the police code for a riot, and topical cover art: the police Teletubby sculpture is based on Josh Kline’s 2015 installation Freedom – police Teletubbies guarding a space modelled after the Occupy Wall Street protest camp in 2011, with 'Star Spangled’, Fatima Al Qadiri’s eerie synth version of the national anthem, playing in the background.
The album’s raging and dissonant sequences (‘Battery’) sit amongst the dark and menacing (‘Curfew’), while choral and string-led moments such as ‘Oubliette’ have a more contemplative feel to them. Fatima Al Qadiri's signature minor progressions give Brute an apt sense of urgency, and in combining sparse percussion with effectively placed caesuras she manages to convey an unsettling sense of tension that says: it's time for outrage.