Khadijat Yussuff's new EP As Above... is an ethereal road trip

click to enlarge Khadijat Yussuff's new EP As Above... is an ethereal road trip
Photo: Khadijat Yussuff
Khadijat Yussuff
Pittsburgh-based photographer and visual artist Khadijat Yussuff's new EP, As Above..., is their first major release, but it's not the first time they've dabbled in music projects, having made mashups, mixes, and original beats since 2019.

Yusuff followed up with their earlier work, including "Drop That" and "Player One," at the end of 2021 with their first single off As Above..., "Calculations," which they describe as a precursor to the EP that focuses on "repeated, ethereal sounds."

When creating As Above..., which dropped Aug. 1, Yussuff says they were consuming all types of media, like animated short films, and listening to Japanese and West African lo-fi and jazz. They also shout out people who have given them the space to hone their DJ technique, like the folks behind the Make Sure You Have Fun collective.
"The major themes of As Above... are nature, levity, and our relationship to them. I wrote the four songs that are on this EP over the course of three years, at different points in my life, creative growth, and career," says Yussuff. "The first track, 'Eos,' is the most recent track I created, and I think it's quite evident that I've come into a lot of peace and stability when it's compared to the last track on the EP, 'Cave Canem,' the first song I wrote for this project in 2019. We've all experienced a lot these past few years, together and individually, so I'm thankful that so many folks have found comfort in it during the first week of its release."

Listening to the release calls to mind a lot of different sounds, but one thing I found as I listened is a memory of video game scores. The first two songs on the EP sound like you're in a game on a hero's quest. There is also a deep hip-hop influence in the beats that are immediately felt. But, as Yussuff says, there is also an ethereal nature to the EP.

The last two tracks see more of that hip-hop influence coming through while maintaining a sense of being suspended in a blue world. The album artwork perfectly encapsulates this feeling. A pink and blue illustration of a futuristic city skyline, it firmly suits the vibe of the EP.

Yussuff designed the album artwork as well and considers the practice of their visual art and music to be linked.

"I absolutely consider them to be deeply intertwined for me and have recently started building unconventional instruments as well, such as a tufted rug that is also a MIDI input. I also love designing my own 3D graphics, and I tend to include a little bit of motion in them, especially when posting to social media," they add. "Sound and vision (and touch) are all different parts of a single workflow for me, and it's incredibly fulfilling to have that level of care with all the parts of a project."

The EP is now available to stream on Spotify, YouTube, and Apple Music, and is available for purchase via Bandcamp and Distro Kid.

"As Above... stresses calm and relaxation," Yussuff says, "and I've tried to mimic the ebbs and flows of life in a concise and easily listenable way."