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.)
“We talk with vocal fry/We watch our futures die.” This was the millennial anthem I did not expect, and I’m so madly in love with his album Revelations. I remember seeing him a few years ago in Montreal. At the end of his set, he moved to his keyboard and abandoned the dance-song-filled set to play the crowd out. It was so natural for him. He seemed at ease and in his element. I’m glad he’s living his truth and making music that truly moves him. It’s a beautifully complex record, and I’m glad to have it in my life.