Listening to Kadhja Bonet you are alerted to the endless possibilities soul music can carry out when filtered through an inclusive prism. Influenced by orchestral configurations, soft-rock constructs and glitchy Linn-drum 80’s pastiche, Childqueen is an ethereal self-produced work of psychedelia that nonchalantly creates its own rules about r&b.
This second release by the LA-based musician rings with such distinction that Anderson .Paak’s label OBE will co-release the record with Fat Possum.
It’s reminiscent of the Minnie Ripperton led, Charles Stepney produced, forward-looking psychedelic soul band Rotary Connection.
Bonet’s delicate voice follows the high arching template set by the late Ripperton on Mother Maybe, finishing out the breezy funk jam with that reaching whisper scream. She’s not showy with the vocals, just proficient at making her chamber music compositions billow with cathedral type reverence. On Joy, the trio of flutes, violins and violas wrap around her choral arrangements with overwhelming grace. Which can be attributed to her rigorous classical training in her childhood, mastering the violin and viola, in addition to picking up the flute, guitar, and formal composition.
Recorded over two years in studios scattered throughout the globe— Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, London, Copenhagen, and even in hotel rooms in Barcelona and Brussels – Childqueen was written, played, produced and mixed by Bonet herself, who even does her own album artwork.
It’s a full-on Team Bonet package that works best when diving between textures and different looks. She executes this difficult job of openness to different eras and ideas within a ten song structure that other artists would jumble up with hackneyed stale attempts.
The album titled single inhabits the classic soul production of Gamble and Huff’s ‘You Know How To Make Me’ with the lyrics “you’re so great at doing what you’re told/ you wear your skin like a coffee spill, where u been at childqueen” riding a bed of languid bass lines, bells and bird whistles. Contrast that with the cosmic underwater basslines in Delphine, to the quirk and jerk of the Linn-Drum on Thoughts Around Tea and you have actual proof how an emerging artist such as Bonet is able to keep genre classifications fluid.
Buy the record HERE
Listen to Childqueen via spotify
Listen to Mother Maybe
Listen to Delphine