Fatima is a singer from Sweden, now living in London and signed to Alexander Nut’s digital funk fortress, Eglo Records. Yellow Memories, the Red Bull Music Academy grad’s first record, is a testament to both new soul and the beat scene with live-band ambitions. Think neosoul at its prime: the theatricality and jazzy, coagulated harmonies of Erykah Badu, Dwele’s intelligent phrasing, the left-field playfulness of Kelis.
Fatima’s vintage soul vocals are melty and unafraid: She sings past her throat, from the belly. The potency of her voice lends a trickster vibe to these songs, which are about navigating uncertainty in love, technology, and the universe. “Why is life so hard sometimes?/ I feel like bad weather,” goes a line on “Biggest Joke of All,” a lighthearted lounge song about miscommunicating lovers.
Producer Scoop Deville’s groovy, intricate beat for “Ridin Round (Sky High),” flickers below Fatima’s balmy singing. She deftly navigates every bumpy bassline and mutating time signature thrown at her by the producers, and, in addition to Scoop, there are some excellent beatmakers involved: Oh No, Floating Points (including his 16-piece Ensemble), Computer Jay, Flako and Knxwledge. Like Kelela’s acclaimed 2013 mixtape Cut 4 Me, Yellow Memories gathers up beautiful but esoteric instrumentals and stamps them with an unforgettable voice.