Oakland, California based artist Leila Abdul-Rauf presents her fourth full-length solo album, Phantasiai.
Between her work as a member of the groups Vastum, Ionophore, Cardinal Wyrm, Fyrhtu, and many other acts prior, Leila is also known for he solo work which showcases her talents as a multi-instrumentalist.
Talking about the new release she says, “In Hellenistic philosophy, phantasiai are our impressions, the ways in which the world is represented through our senses, preceding actual thoughts. This is where music-making lies for me: in the space between senses and thoughts, having the power to express where words fall short. What I believe to be the coldest and most sinister album I’ve released under my name to date, Phantasiai is comprised of two suites, each containing four movements, composed almost entirely from modulated live trumpet, glockenspiel, and vocal performances.”
She continues, “I encourage listeners to create their own stories about Phantasiai, but here is my own. The first suite, ‘Distortions In Phantasy,’ describes a character being seduced and consumed by a powerfully addictive phantasy, one so destructive, the body, mind and spirit are annihilated beyond recognition. As the album moves between tracks I through IV, listeners may experience a gradual sensation of seeking deeper into an abyss. In the second suite, ‘The I Emerges,’ the character experiences a renewal in which what little is left of the former self is vaporized through a crucible of sorts, then re-organized into a new physical and spiritual existence. The pain of the loss experienced by the former self is gone, but adjusting to the new self is an uncomfortable and disorienting experience, with reality perpetually coming into question.”
Weaving layered textures into drifting cinematic compositions, Phantasiai conjures dreamlike and melancholic ambient pieces. A unique and compelling album using a minimal amount of instruments to stunning effect.
Composed, recorded, and produced by Leila, Phantasiai was mastered by Cyclic Law, the stunning cover artwork was created by Matthew Jaffe, and graphic design was handled by Heresie Studio.
Cyclic Law will release Phantasiai on CD and digitally on July 16th, with the LP to follow as a co-release with Cloister Recordings in September.
The album will featured on Aural Delights 452 (29th July)
Photograph of Leila by Dawn Howard