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.)
When I first started making music, the Danish were really receptive to what I was making. I’ve been back and forth for a number of years now. This record was a tour van staple. Whenever we hit the Danish border, someone would put on “Copenhagen.” The first person to introduce me to his music was Rob Ellis in 2012. I laughed when I saw him appear in a Scott Walker documentary recently as a talking head. He’s such a huge fan, and I’m glad he got me obsessed. I listened to quite a lot of Scott Walker before I made my second record. (The later weirder records definitely seeped through the writing process.) Analyzing it now, I wish I had spent more time with this collection of songs. In a world filled with friends, you lose your way.