Thanks to Philadelphia’s Precolumbian and her latest mixtape ASYLUM0001, we’re here to welcome a soundtrack for burning rose-tinted narratives of the immigrant experience to the ground.
In describing the mix, Precolumbian explains her own family’s story of fleeing Peru when she was nine years old, leaving behind the brutality of the 80s and 90s as a result of the Sendero Luminoso forces, narco-trafficking, and the acceleration of civil conflict that devastated the country with hundreds of thousands dead, detained, or disappeared. The conflict continues to reverberate in Peru as much as in Precolumbian’s daily life, and the mix provides a personal account that offers insight into the refugee trauma. It’s apt timing to amplify this narrative, especially as current refugee crises have become impossible for the global north to ignore; we should all listen closely.
As Precolumbian puts it, “this mix is about the disruptive, exhausting, and isolating experience of being uprooted: by war, conflict, persecution, poverty, deportation, incarceration, borders or any of the forms colonialism takes shape today. It’s also about the enormous falsehood of safety, of refuge, of sanctuary the homes of empire offer.”
ASYLUM0001 is a study in emotional dissonance; the cover art plays with the image of the international calling card, a shared signifier that breathes a sense of proximity and irreconcilable distance at all once. Press play for 34 minutes of cuts from Rizzla’s howling Iron Cages album, grime inspiration Visionist, Mexico’s underground force María y José, OMAAR, and Mock the Zuma, and wrapping with the ultra-apt “We Have No Allegiance” from E_SCRAAATCH.