Fatima Al-Qadiri is one of a recent outcropping of soundmakers who increasingly blur the lines between pop music and multimedia installation. These pop conceptualists are more likely to refer to themselves as “multimedia artists” than musicians, and their work is often illegible without reference to their visual and textual components. Sure, you could choose to listen to last year’s Genre Specific Xperience EP in a vacuum and ignore the associated video pieces and experimental web art, but that would be missing the point… no? Maybe not. Al-Qadiri also released the Warn-U EP under the Ayshay moniker last year, and it stood on its own quite well. Still, you are much more likely to catch a FAQ performance at PS1 or the New Museum than Glasslands or Zebulon.
The point is that FAQ is up to something a little more tricky and complex than your average beatmaker, even though her beats are pristine and her command of generic tropes is impressive. For evidence of complexity, look no further than GSX Remixes, released this week on UNO. Here’s what FAQ has to say: “I really liked the idea of the remix album — a polarizing, commercial format that became popular in the 90s. For me, it was a way to explore the concept of genre as a commodity further.” These remixes present the listener with an unorthodox marriage: hyperreal musical virtualities by a conceptual artist, rewired and transformed by forward-thinking producers of largely non-conceptual electronic music.
Listen to three of the EP’s seven remixes below. Just be careful not to disappear into the infinite regress of meta-cognitive levels of commentary.