Kadhja Bonet’s second album, Childqueen— now out on Fat Possum records— is something of a Hero’s Quest. In the opening Procession, above a muted drummer’s march, an unseen oracle announces to you, the listener: “every morning is a chance to renew, a chance to renew.” This is your first clue, setting you upon a path not to treasure, nor a grail, nor even a long lost love, but highest of all, what Kadhja has christened the “childqueen,” that innermost self that you were truthfully and instinctively before the press of the world came crushing in. As with her 2016 debut The Visitor, the songs on Childqueen are never casual, never ditties. Instead they invite us into a world not wholly our own, a half-mythical atmosphere where past and future meet in a parallel, yet faraway, present. Acting as a sort of diffuse chanteuse, Kadhja’s almost painfully lovely voice achieves what can only be described as ambient song. Particularly in songs like Delphine and Nostalgia, we hear the jazzier intricacies of the vocal melodies brushed soft at the edges, at times so soft they vaporize into pure mood, or merge with other instruments or with backing vocals that seem emanate from celestials bodies. And the instruments— played mostly by the polymathic Bonet herself— mix the cinematically and classically orchestral with the noticeably more synthetic. On tracks like Thoughts Around Tea or Another Time Lover, flutes, violins, guitars, drums, and bells share or trade the stage with acousmatic warbles, whooshes and lines, each gently couching the contours of the others. The result is a soundscape the listener sinks into, a sound that combines softer enchantments with an ever-listenable experimentalism, unplaceable in genre and decade from beginning to end.