Contemporary soul music is a tricky little thing. You can’t flaunt your influences too flagrantly, running the risk of being deemed a “revivalist.” And if you stray too far from the classic frameworks, you slip into the gray beyond of over-the-average-head music, sending you down a path of perpetual self-explanation. And so, being a modern-day vehicle of Stax, Motown, Blue Note and the like, tends to be more of a balancing act than any artist knowingly volunteers for.
But it’s here, that LA-based singer/songwriter/arranger and do-it-all-to-death, Kadhja Bonet seems most comfortable, most free; in era-blurring, soul-smothered compositions that borrow from the free-roam psychedelia of late ’60s rock and their lush accompanying orchestrations. Her debut EP The Visitor is absolutely loaded with these sentiments, visceral and dream-like, but not lofty enough to keep it out of your grasp. All of this is anchored by a voice that seems to float just above each cut, feathery, yet ever-so-present, landing with grace upon each descent.
I’ve written rather extensively on Bonet’s particularly potent blend of orchestral soul and westbound cinematic jazz (see “Honeycomb” and her breathtaking cover of The 21st Century’s “Remember The Rain”) but today, you can hear and experience this rare talent as a full and stunning body of work, perfect for your rainy-Sunday-musings or riding out into an epic sunset. Stream Kadhja’s Bonet’s The Visitor EP below.