Kadhja Bonet's Childqueen opens with words that could have come from a lotus-positioned guru at a wellness retreat: "Every morning brings a chance to renew, a chance to renew." This she sings calmly, in carefully braided, elaborately evolving vocal harmony.
But the surroundings are not exactly tranquil. Behind her there's a solemn military march, the caissons-rolling kind, with sharp rat-a-tats and press rolls from the snare drum. That gives way to a flute-led parade fantasy, and as it unfolds, it's possible to imagine a squad of ballet dancers moving in Nutcracker lockstep across a stage. In less than a minute, Bonet has twisted that opening mantra into a kind of surreal audio choreography, a scene as much as a song.
She's doing something profoundly individual here: proof of her idiosyncratic genius is tucked into the tiny background details, like the chorale of mouth-popping percussion that enlivens a verse of "Another Time Lover." Childqueen is loaded with such bits, and that gives it a shapeshifting quality: One day it can seem significantly restrained, more austere than the usual solo artist project, and the next, it feels epic, driven by a warrior's ambition and the determination to seize every chance to renew.
|A3||Another Time Lover|
|A5||Thoughts Around Tea|