The Arboretum Festival, or this year’s Bon-Fire, is one of my favourite places to go to discover incredible musicians who are just getting their careers underway. This time around I was absolutely blown away by the performance from Toronto’s Witch Prophet. Their set put me in a trance-like state. On the second track of their debut album, The Golden Octave, Ayo Leilani sings a repeated line that rings very true. Her music will put a spell on you.
Witch Prophet seamlessly blends hip hop and R&B over deep, dark, soulful beats. Leilani’s voice alone is a force to be reckoned with, and she amplifies that power using carefully crafted loops. The ambience of the underlying tracks combined with slowly building harmonies creates a captivating magic that is almost impossible to break away from.
The Golden Octave is an impressive debut, and it feels like there is a lot of room for Witch Prophet to grow. The album is made up of a series of songs packed with psychedelic beauty, but I could use a little more cohesion over the course of the album. It starts off with a tight connection between “Loop” and “Time Traveller”, and I would love that feeling of a continuous ride to persist through the entire record. That being said, each song has a strong, unique identity, making it well worth listening to all the way through.
Between the delicacy and emotional power of Leilani’s vocals and the dynamic, evolving beats, Witch Prophet is an act that shouldn’t be missed. I can’t wait to check out another show, and to hear the tracks that inevitably follow after The Golden Octave.