#MixPicks: Kadhja Bonet
By Mixtape Mandi
The soulful genre-defying Kadhja Bonet has announced the release of her debut The Visitor. On the album, Bonet invites us into a world not wholly our own, where past and future meet in a parallel, yet far lovelier, present. Fat Possum and Fresh Selects, two respected labels from different genres, have joined forces to bring us this transcendent debut, available in full on October 21st.
Bonet’s voice velvetly emerges on brand new single, “Honeycomb,” with a timelessness sending listeners in an atmospheric trance through smooth melodies, as if the name of the song suggested it would flow your body as smooth as honey itself. After running through classical, jazz, soul, and subtle hints of psychedelia, you find it ultimately impossible to compare her to any other artist on the map. If her rich instrumentation of strings and wind strikes us as a “classic,” it’s not because it harkens to any past era, but because Bonet paints perennial imagery that could as much be now as then as any other time.
Bonet herself remains a mystery about her own life, insisting that her audience convene with her on imaginative and musical planes. What we do know about Bonet is this: she is classically trained in a variety of instruments, including violin, viola, flute, guitar, and voice to frame every note and curve of The Visitor. The moment I heard her first single “Remember the Rain,” and those sweet and subtle falsetto hits, I knew this talented musician was one to keep an eye on. Since then, she’s released “This Love,” a mellow samba that dances around the idea of confessing her affection to a new lover.
For the album, all writing and arrangement is entirely created by Bonet, except for the Jaco Pastorius classic “Portrait of Tracy,” in which she incorporated her own lyrics atop Patorius’ melody. While calling in friends like Te’amir Yohannes Sweeney for drums, as well as Low Leaf, Peter Dyer, Randal Fisher, and Itai Shapira for harp, synth, flute, and bass, Bonet still plays a good half of the instruments herself, including guitar, violin, flute, and the backup vocals. The Visitor plays through like one individual’s lucid dream in what is sometimes an all-too-dreamless musical landscape.