Iranian-born, New York City-based electronic producer and multimedia artist SADAF previously graced us back in 2018 with her ‘Shell’ EP, and a year on this debut album on Falty DL’s Blueberry label ‘History Of Heat’ sees her taking that preceding collection’s experimental and neo-classical explorations even further out. Indeed, there’s a jarring and abrasive feel to many of the twelve tracks collected here, with chaotic percussive and free jazz elements often battling for space with stacked samples, stream of consciousness vocals and hammering breakcore rhythms.
‘L’Enfer en Pleine Lumière’ opens proceedings with an almost ritualistic feel as SADAF’s multi-layered vocals gather pace against a backdrop of rumbling tribal percussion, sawing violins and chaotic free jazz horns, the child-like free association of the child-like chanted vocal hook bleeding into the soloing. It’s certainly something of a sensory overload to take in all at once, a sensation that’s frequently evoked throughout this album.
‘Apparition’ meanwhile shifts from a gentle yet ominous opening section of spectral vocal harmonies and spoken-word phrases into the sort of relentlessly hammering rhythms and contorted zaps you’d associate with breakcore, yet the hypnotically flowing sensation that’s generated as mournful violins cut through the mix sits far closer to Patten’s recent explorations in hyper-detailed sonic layering.
Elsewhere, ‘Perfection’ continues the rhythmic assault as distorted kickdrums hammer out an unpredictable rapid-fire pulse against SADAF’s reverb-drenched sung vocals and bloodcurdling screams, the gradual pitching down of her vocals adding to the sense of creepiness.
It’s not all hyper-accelerated rhythms though, with ‘Feed Him’ dropping the pace down as creeping industrial percussion traces a path against SADAF’s playful, almost childlike vocal melodies and a treacherous backdrop of dark ambience and gaseous sounding hisses. ‘History Of Heat’ takes a few repeated listens to really sink in, but it’s well worth investing the time.