Originally published in Qmunicate Magazine, February 2016.
On her second EP, Lafawndah (real name Yasmin Dubois) makes use of sonic space just as much as she does the sounds of her multicultural background. The half-Iranian, half-Egyptian alt pop artist throws in influences from her heritage as well as time spent in Paris, Tehran and Mexico to create something simultaneously textured and delicately scattered; the thick atmosphere of Tan never falters although the strength of Lafawndah’s ethereal melodies does at points.
The release, fifteen minutes in length, is threaded together with lyrics about politics and relationships with other women over persistent loops of pipes, drums, and synths in what becomes a near hypnotic infusion of rhythms. At such a short length, the lack of structure to each of the four tracks is palatable, though one can imagine that a full-length of a similar style may run the risk of being impenetrable. That said, nothing suggests that Lafawndah had any other intention; Western music is not what influenced her, and so her songs meander to fit a different (and what often feels more thoughtful) standard. Soothing yet uncomfortable; sleepy but unrelenting; certainly vulnerable but still with the confidence of a woman who knows what kind of art she wants to produce, Tan is a compelling account of juxtapositions.