Words: Jasmine Uitermark-Thaung
XXIX is one of the most complex debut releases I’ve heard and seen in a while, so much so I couldn’t resist waiting until after my last exam to share my love for WAFIA’s debut EP.
The five track EP named after copper’s atomic number and transcribed into Roman numerals exhibits melodic production intertwined with a determined force behind the percussive beats on display in track, The Raid.
In a recent interview with Brisbane Times, Wafia spoke about a state of change she was experiencing whilst creating the tracks for the EP. “Every song on the EP was inspired and written after I made a decision and changed how I approached certain things,” she said. With this theme of change present in her music, Wafia translated this across to the visual aesthetic of her EP cover, coiled in copper, a transitional metal that signifies a state of flux.
Wafia’s lyrics are a strong portrayal of honesty. Dripping with languid lament, Heartburn latches onto your heart strings so your pulse closely trails the ebb and flow of the Brisbane songstress’s vocals. Fading Through the last track of XXIX is like an early morning walk along the beach with the voice of Vancouver Sleep Clinic, Tim Bettinson featured to contrast the crystalline lyricism Wafia cloaks herself in.
XXIX bares Middle Eastern influences through the inclusion of Arabic in Heartburn and the song title of her fourth track. With the mould strongly infused with modern pop, XXIX crosses generational and cultural barriers often thrown in front of ethnic artists, a true trial of Wafia’s determination.