Many musicians speak of their versatility, but few can boast an MPhil from Cambridge specialising in African history, work in human rights law (predominately in South Africa) and enviable sonic CVs among their caches. Yet such is the extraordinary makeup of London-based Throwing Shade, aka Nabihah Iqbal, a rising producer and NTS Radio host whose House of Silk EP will be released via Ninja Tune on 4th March. Having debuted on Kassem Mosse’s Ominira imprint and followed suit with releases for No Pain In Pop (Patten, Grimes, Forest Swords) and Happy Skull, Throwing Shade continues her patchwork of peripheral pop over five new tunes.
Leading track “hashtag IRL” is a nod to what she calls the ironic “anti-social reality of social media,” full of digital glitter and contemporary colloquialisms but pervaded by an uncanny emptiness too. The “repetitive, robotic and melancholy vocals” to her "symbolize the relentlessness with which the internet now dictates our lives…our thoughts are watered down to a common denominator of hashtags, selfies and internet-speak acronyms.”
While “hashtag IRL" exemplifies her voice, tapped by SOPHIE for breakout track “Lemonade” and most recent single “L.O.V.E.,” the rest of the EP focuses squarely on her multifaceted production skills, lightfootedly gliding on “Marble Air,” nodding to ‘80s cinema on “Ecco Echo,” compelling idle feet to dance on “Fear of Silence” and slipping through the haze of half-sleep on “Underneath My Eyelids.”
So far high praise for Throwing Shade has come from Mixmag, Dummy, FACT, the Guardian, FADER, DAZED, i-D, Crack, Clash, the Quietus and Complex among others, while those not yet in the know can catch her at an EP release party on 10 March at a secret London location.