IN PRAISE OF: Nabihah Iqbal - Weighing of the Heart

06 Dec 2017

"nostalgic, sweet pop and pristine beats"

+F

IN PRASIE OF, a collection of critical accliam for one of NTS Radio’s best-loved DJs - Nabihah Iqbal has a new solo record - 'Weighing of the Heart'

"For the last few years, Nabihah Iqbal has been confecting bright and airy electronica as producer Throwing Shade. For her debut album, she bursts out from between the synths with a warm and fuzzy vocal-led collection of tracks that nod to both New Order-ish post-punk and the intimate dream pop of the early 90s. The record also recalls fellow Londoners Real Lies, whose layering of street-lamp lit synths and gutter/stars portraits of the city echo in tracks like 'Zone 1 to 6000'. The latter is just one of the highlights of an album that weaves sweet pop melodies and strange, scuttling beats together into something that feels both nostalgic and recklessly new. It’s all done with a precision and neatness that betrays Iqbal’s dance music roots, with each moment providing an aesthetic delight, from the medley of drumbeats that opens 'Eternal Passion' to the liquid gold guitars that frequently surface." - The Gaurdian

"Iqbal has explained that the decision to do away with the Throwing Shade alias was driven by a desire to stand as a British-Asian artist making music. But the move also feels appropriate on an album where Iqbal rolls back the fashionable club production of her previous work in favor of a sound that is more personal and emotive. Gone are the bleeding-edge electronic beats and globe-trotting influences that Iqbal previously preferred on tracks like “hashtag IRL.” In a recent interview, Iqbal said she avoided listening to new music while working on this album, reflecting instead on the music of her teenage years. She mentions Joy Division and Bauhaus as influences as well as "Sowt ‘Leiko Kamam Bian Tara Lod Biaran’" by R & R Zangeshahi, the latter not so much as a sonic marker as for the emotional response it brings from the listener."

"The inky hands of Joy Division’s later incarnation as New Order are all over Weighing of the Heart. Album highlight “Saw U Twice” is a hugely satisfying retread of the early New Order sound, when the band bolted on synths to add dashes of color to their Mancunian morosity. “Saw U Twice” sees sparse guitar lines meet melodic bass counterpoint, airy electronic washes and drums that vacillate between post-punk dungeon and New York disco, each perfectly weighed. This combination, repeated on the album’s best tracks, may not appear particularly original in late 2017, when New Order’s influence is evident in bands from LCD Soundsystem to The Killers. But Iqbal lifts her music into rather more original territory thanks to vocals that borrow from the chiffon singing style of shoegaze acts like Slowdive or The Telescopes, her fusion of two popular musical influences creating something greater than the sum of its parts." - Pitchfork

"'Weighing of the Heart' also alludes to Ancient Egyptian mythology, notably the belief that in order to enter the afterlife, a person’s heart had to be weighed against a feather representing the goddess of truth, Ma’at. The Ancient Egyptians viewed the heart as the epicentre of a person’s moral being and if the deceased was of immoral character, their heart would tip the scales and be eaten by the waiting goddess Ammit.

With this light/dark dichotomy in mind, Weighing of the Heart affects a finely-tuned balance between analog and digital, between gated drum machine patterns and live instrumentation – particularly the aforementioned guitar. It’s this whip-smart attention to detail that stops the album from plunging off the cliff face of self-indulgent nostalgia. What’s more, the live aspect gives the record an organic feel quite distinct from the slick electronica of Iqbal’s previous EPs, while the breathy looped vocals are a soothing antidote to the hyperbolic brashness of House of Silk tracks like ‘Hashtag IRL’." - FACT

"It helps that Iqbal is a frequently fantastic songwriter. The spaces and separation inherent in the New Order sound mean that there is no room to hide your dirty musical laundry; every component must be finely tuned to work, both individually and as part of the whole. Iqbal pulls off this delicate balancing act with aplomb, packing the album with wonderful instrumental touches, from the chiming guitar intro to “Something More” to the luminescent bassline that lifts the midsection of “Eternal Passion” to the dramatic cymbal crashes on “Saw U Twice.” To this, she adds vocal lines that combine earworm melodies with a road-worn melancholy, transforming lyrics such as “Saw you on the train/Will I see you again?” (from “Saw U Twice”) into the kind of quotidian lament that is inherent in the most relatable pop music." - Pitchfork

"The change in name means that she’s standing proud as a female British Asian artist, but it’s also allowed her to move out of the shadows and into more expansive musical territory." - DIY

"'Weighing of the Heart' is the latest experiment for a hard-working polymath who appears to takes pleasure in the unknown. Iqbal’s acts of escapism exist in her magpie-like curiosity for sound and her enviable ability to leap and venture into new sonic climes, and if that’s the pathway she’s pursuing, we’re more than happy to join her on her journey." - FACT

'Weighing of the Heart' is out now via Nijatune

Nabihah Iqbal plays her first official show for the new album at Archspace, 22 February.

Tickets on sale now!

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