this album is everything that i am and everything that i am not. i wanted to embrace all of the facets of my identity but not let those paradigms build chains around my artistic vision. this album is a queer’d journey of interrogation in order to discover the seed of my fire. realizing i didn’t need to go anywhere else but my past for inspiration, i shoveled into my upbringing of living in Baltimore, where as a youth, during humid summer days i often would here in the distance, the go ghetters having marching band practice, or how i would sneak into 17 and over nights at the paradox to be engulfed by the vibrations of the powerful subwoofers the played bmore club or vogue music all night long, or how i would love post church sunday drives with grandad, as he play the stylings of motown in his dodge caravan (sometimes he would play a mix of pfunk or mystikal tool) after witnessing the visceral beauty of gospel performances at bethal ame.
The writing within my work is inspired by Black writers such as Audre Lorde and Octavia Butler, who created psalm-like literatures that not only radicalized black queer identity but also nourished black consciousness. The production of my work is inspired by music made for sanctuary, deliverance, and emancipation such as gospel, ballroom, noise, jazz, rap, punk, and of course Baltimore club. For FIYA!!!, I’m interested in creating black queerness as sound. Using black gay culture as a provoker, I’m obsessed with black queer theory as a means to self actualize my own identity while reshaping my musical voice and approach. For me queerness is a state of being, implying constant questioning introspectively, outwardly, and living in ambiguity without absolute definitions.
My roots as an artist are grounded in nostalgic Baltimore culture: marching band events, Baltimore club dance nights at the Paradox, and underground queer voguing events. These were all moments that helped shape my artistic identity and musical palate. This has inspired me to literally put Baltimore’s energy into my music. In FIYAH!!!, I composes sonic landscapes that feel like my city, with a black queer aesthetic and tone. I experimented with synthesizers because they queer sounds into something completely different from the original. Synthesizers lack limitation and can propel you into a constant journey of interrogating sounds to discover future sounds. I recorded the sounds of Baltimore and reinterpret them through synthesizers; making new sounds that would take a new life in the production of my music. Doing this work was an extension and a continuation of my previous work which has been composed with all digital sounds. FIYAH!!! is a music project queering soundscapes further by infusing analogue with digital. FIYAH!!! presents black queer theory into sound infusing the aesthetic of Baltimore.
so i wondered how can i take my baltimore experiences and my hometown sound into the future where my influences of free jazz, soul, punk, and rap could be fused into one movement? i wondered how could i unleash social political critiques, emotions, and personal traumas into a musical abyss of revolution? FIYAH!!! is me wondering, questioning, climbing up a mountain into the burning bush of endless musical possibilities in a post afro futurist realm. i feel as though, this is the first established musical chapter of Abdu Ali and im excited to invite you into this journey.