Boise-based artist and painter Huma Aatifi picked up a guitar for the first time about a year before cutting her album, Master of the House. At the time, she was living in a small apartment in Georgia, and unable to paint, she still felt a need to express herself. Unda Fluxit, the name of her solo act, roughly translates from the Latin to "running water," but Aatifi said sometimes it takes on another meaning.
"In some connotations it means 'Where has the shimmering water gone?'" she said.
The album was released through Spacecase Records, a small label out of Austin, Texas, that specializes in supporting underground music. It took a dedicated five months of work to put together, and on Saturday, Nov. 16, it will finally get a release party at MING Studios, slated to start at 8 p.m.
"I wanted to have my record release at MING, I like the space and I feel like my music would fit there," said Aatifi.
Eschewing a larger bar type venue for a small art studio should work well. The album blends sounds that force the listener to actively concentrate on what's happening, and the songs move between Eastern and Western influences. Master of the House exemplifies the meandering discourse of what America is to all the people that call it home.
"In Afghani culture, music is part of the society in a free-form way," Aatifi said.
One of the influences for the album is an Afghani station called Arakozia Radio. It broadcasts entirely in Pashto, a language whose speakers make up 45% to 60% of the population of Afghanistan. Further, most of the call-ins are from working people as opposed to professional musicians. It's this kind of organic and unscripted type of music creation that drew Aatifi.
The first track on Master of the House, "American Dream," sets the scene for the rest of the album. In it, Aatifi plays her guitar in the Americana style, but her singing voice resonates in an unexpected way. The point of the music is to remove people from their black-and-white comfort zones, and their expectations for music, into a sonic gray space. Aatifi creates an experience for the listener that mirrors visual art, offering the listener a different type of focus.
"A friend asked me what my definition of distortion is," said Aatifi. "He said my music is distorted because it takes you out of reality and places you somewhere different."