NOW AVAILABLE: Arooj Aftab's "Siren Islands"
Siren Islands is the new album from Pakistan-born, Brooklyn-based composer and performer Arooj Aftab. The record is now available through New Amsterdam’s Bandcamp subscription as part of the Windmill Series, a new digitally-focused set of releases for subscribers in addition to our regular release schedule. The album is also available on all digital platforms today, including iTunes and Amazon.
Siren Islands is a raw collection of ambient, experimental electronic music, carrying strong themes of female empowerment, and taking inspiration from the mythology of Sirenum Scopuli. While working on the project, Aftab spent some winter nights in a very deep musical meditation, experimenting with analog synthesizers, loop pedals, electric guitar, and her own deeply enchanting voice. It is an immersive work filled with "spiraling soundscapes for lo-fi dreaming."
The album is an intermediary project between Aftab’s first album Bird Under Water, which was self-released in 2014, and her next full album Vulture Prince, which will be released in 2019. Siren Islands is an output where Aftab can be more raw and direct, and where she can experiment with herself as a solo musician. The album does not adhere to one genre or time, but draws freely from old Sufi music and poetry as well as contemporary ambient and experimental electronic music. This balance between old and new is mirrored in the instrumentation, which counts analog synthesizers, electric guitar and Sufi-inspired lyrics, with effects added by delay, reverb and loop pedals. The inspiration drawn from Sirenum Scopuli – Greek mythical sirens luring sailors to their death on rocky islands – can be heard in the dreamscape-y sound of the album, and is a clear female empowerment statement.
Written and performed by Aftab alone, each track is recorded live and tracked to a single mono input, creating an intimate world that is difficult to escape, balanced between the ancient and contemporary.
The album was mixed and mastered by Damon Whittemore. Album cover art and album teaser video was designed by Swoon Studio.
Instruments played on Siren Islands
Analog synthesizers, loop pedals, delays and reverbs, voice and electric guitar. All instruments played and recorded by Arooj Aftab.
from distant waters, from parallel worlds,
concealed by the drifting mists of floating islands
come the siren songs
beckoning the spirit to submerge and submit
liner notes by Radhika Singh
About the Windmill Series
The Windmill Series is a new digitally-focused set of releases made available to New Amsterdam subscribers in addition to our normal release schedule. After a subscription exclusivity period, Windmill Series releases are available digitally worldwide. The idea behind the Windmill Series is to release great music as well as to focus more on digital platforms.