Leila Abdul-Rauf – “Diminution” (2018)


Label: Cloister Recordings/Black Horizons/Malignant Records

Review by Warren Mayocchi

“Diminution” means a reduction in size, extent, or importance. This meaning is intended; Leila Abdul-Rauf wishes to highlight the reduction in value the collective we are giving life. Musically, the album is mostly instrumental, built with a sad trumpet, a ponderous piano, sighing vocals, occasional percussion, and droning background noise. Other elements are present, but this is a sparse atmospheric album. It almost sounds as though something is missing – but that, of course, is the point when conveying the sense of diminution. If anything, the album sounds like an organic version of the moodier works of Vangelis – the dystopian Blade Runner soundtrack would be appropriate given the mournful theme of loss. It is unlikely this will be an album with broad appeal, however for those who love a rainy day soundtrack for the end of the world, you will love “Diminution”. Imagine the myriad of songs reduced to a few, the diverse culture and festivals of the world become the simple beat of work/tune out/sleep. We work hard but it is not us who profit from our labor. The pleasures of life could have vanished for many reasons, but as we look around, the collective we are doing this to ourselves. Such is Leila Abdul-Rauf‘s album – it is a thoughtful collection of songs to ponder why we are creating this world for ourselves and where our creation is heading.

Rating – 80/100



  1. Diminution
  2. Life Leaving
  3. Causeway
  4. Abjure
  5. Wayward
  6. Self-Recognition (for Pauline Oliveros)
  7. Hindsight
  8. Light Rising



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