Listen To An Experimental Album That Ressurects The Intergenerational Trauma Of Ladakh

Ruhail Qaisar, Fatima
Ruhail Qaisar, FatimaSpotify, Motto Distribution

Rooted in geo-personal history, Ruhail Qaisar, a self-taught noise/experimental music producer from Leh, Ladakh released his debut album, 'Fatima' which is described as "...a requiem for a dead future". It screams with the trauma and decay of life in his homeland. Absorbing this external condition of perpetual conflict between nation-states into his internal life and resulting compositions; crossing sound art, noise music and experimental filmmaking, Ruhail creates an unnerving sense of fear, anger, and alienation through a haunting sonic experience.

Released on January 27th via the label Danse Noire, founded by Swiss artist Aisha Devi, 'Fatima' is a one-of-a-kind conceptual body of work available for digital download with a limited edition 48-page print publication carrying photographic work and text in English and Urdu. Across nine tracks, the no-wave album uses atmospheric drones, power electronics and convulsive post-industrial dissonance to relay the stories of the geographically isolated and geopolitically contested Himalayan region that is Ruhail’s home.

Photo from 'Fatima's Poplar'
Photo from 'Fatima's Poplar'Rolling Stone

'Fatima' is an elegy for a Ladakh which is rapidly disappearing due to nationalism and the tourism industry. The album’s discordant vibrations and atonal shrieks are inscribed with the trauma of recent history — both the external violence of colonialism and militarization and the psychic violence of industrialization and late capitalism. As we traverse this ruined, decaying landscape with the album, we stumble upon echoes of the past that are the bucolic vistas of serene beauty and revenants of cosmological horror that Ruhail has painstakingly resurrected through field recordings and experimental transmutations of traditional Ladakhi music and lore. 

With sounds as motifs native to the essence of Ladakh, Fatima is an alive, organic production pulsating with agony and shock. Notes of lost beauty season the 'hauntological compendium of personal tribute' mixing serenity and violence. This sound-collage memoir based on real-life events and local mythos, packages Ladakh and its memory in a visceral soundscape that you can disappear into for hours.

You can listen to it here.