Wafia’s ‘VIII’ EP: Mind-indulgent minimalism

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Photo: ta-ku.co

Progressing nicely from her previous collaborated ‘(m)edian’ EP with Perth producer, Ta-ku, Wafia’s latest sophomore EP ‘VIII’ is what some may call mind-indulgent minimalism.

Wafia Al Rikabi, more commonly known as Wafia, is a 24-year-old Australian singer songwriter of Arab origin who started writing songs to escape the monotony of university studies, and is now taking the world by storm.

Her most recent body of work, ‘VIII’ features just 6 songs which delve into themes of transparency, necessity, simplicity and intangibility crafted through Wafia’s own experiences.

“Writing this EP, I got really obsessed with the realisation that nothing I ever make will be tangible,” Wafia said.

‘83 Days’ possesses this ethereal, atmospheric sound complete with some magical trickling synth bells the sound further flourishes with Wafia’s interjecting refreshing voice singing, ‘Are you thinking of me?’.

According to Genius, Wafia described the song as evolving out of someone she loved who wouldn’t stay and reflecting on “how something that ceased to exist anymore could be felt constantly.”

‘Only Love’ is bold with its rather weighty bass, airy harp and zappy synth bouncing in and out all combining to add colour and vibrancy to a rather monotonous yet satisfying bass. Wafia’s voice also gives a breath of natural energy alongside the heavy electronic bass.

Personally, I feel this track is relatable in that it speaks of the fear of letting it all go for love and allowing yourself to open up to another person fully, and how we often overthink the idea of ‘love’.

‘Bodies’ is definitely one of the standouts. Co-written with Ben Abraham, the song was penned in the lead up to the US Presidential election and the frustrations Wafia felt watching her family being denied refugee status to Australia.

The track is filled with synths and electronica fused with Wafia’s angelic vocals weaving in and out of the claps and electronica abundance.

“I wanted to make something really negative,” Wafia told Triple J Hack.

“And then I kind of sat with it decided there’s enough of that in the world. I wanted to make something more positive and more about the unity and the beauty in seeing so many people deciding to flee their countries together.”

Furthermore, Wafia told Genius the song was about simplifying and humanising the refugee crisis which is often portrayed pessimistically by the media.

“We are fragile bodies but the strength that can come of bodies in large numbers,” she told Genius.

‘Breathe’ is a much more slower tune with a sultry, romantic feel present with its deep, soul-hitting bass and woozy snare as Wafia sings, “your taking my breath away”.

But looking deeper, the lyrics tell a more cynical tale of a teasing heartbreak as Wafia calmly sings, “you taste like lies, jealousy and regret, always disguise how you hurt within me”.

The ‘Interlude’ featuring Ta-ku is simple and has this lo-fi feel, which instantly radiates Ta-ku’s signature sound. Accompanied by a pleasantly classic yet haunting piano and Wafia’s short breaths pulsing throughout, provides for a very thought-provoking sequence that transitions nicely from the previous track.

‘The Ending’ featuring Finneas is a much deeper, more natural and organic sound. It’s almost cinematic with the building strings over the beautiful, gently piano bass line moulding nicely with Wafia and Finneas’  delightful harmonised vocals.

Although this may be the ending for a rather pensive album focused on bringing the masses together, but this rather climatic, almost energetic ending tells us, Wafia’s journey as a musician is far from over.

You can purchase Wafia’s latest ‘VIII’ EP here.

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