Ladan Hussein, the woman who records and performs as Cold Specks, is quietly intense. On Fool’s Paradise (Arts & Crafts), her third album, Hussein’s music is stripped down to the essentials. Soft, mournful synthesizers drift through a melancholy space, with elusive percussion accents in the background. Her hushed, jazz-inflected vocals are full of passionate yearning, the sound of a soul on the verge of tears or explosive anger. “This is a deeply personal album,” says the Toronto-based Hussein. “It deals with a variety of topics from self-love, identity and diaspora dreaming during the apocalypse. I wrote most of the record in a period where I was feeling as though I needed to detach from the world, for the sake of my own sanity. The album is a brutally honest document of it all.” Hussein will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature on her.
Hussein: Apathy during the apocalypse is the goal. Switch it off and sigh. Here are songs to keep you warm during the disconnection process. (You can keep up with my Paradise Playlist on Spotify.)
My older sisters used to throw parties in our basement growing up. They’d tape music-video programs and would just invite their friends and dance along to their collection. I remember sitting in a corner as a wide-eyed child taking in this song over and over again. I’m not very good at articulating why certain songs hit me so hard. I feel as though it’s always best to just dive in. I revisited this song recently after many years away from it. It’s an undeniable bop.