By Joel McRae

By definition, “sonder” is the realization that each random passerby lives a life as vivid and complex as your own and with that, our unique experiences all flow into one. This is the message up-and-coming R&B powerhouse, Sonder, the newfound brainchild of vocalist Brent Faiyez and producers Dpat and Atu, aimed to impart through its debut release. After teasing the internet with three massive singles last summer, Sonder released its hyper-emotional debut EP, “Into.”  Channeling the 90s-style R&B that they grew up on, “Into” cuts straight to the heart with their seven-track EP, which is a project full of sultry vocals and enigmatic, yet minimalistic instrumentals. Brent Faiyaz’s raw, penetrating vocals atop Atu and Dpat’s smooth, downtempo production create the timeless sound that few artists manage to achieve in our oversaturated age of music.

The EP opens up with “Feel,” a mysteriously dark track full of impassioned and sentient vocals that glide effortlessly over the hard-hitting instrumental.  The track flows perfectly into “Lovely,” a dynamic and wistful track which further progresses the project’s lustful narrative. The most popular track of the project, “Too Fast” is a perfect representation of Sonder’s encapsulating sound; a beautifully written and hypnotizing ballad which remains in the same seductive vein as the rest of the EP. “Searchin” is yet another exemplary song; a hauntingly beautiful track with chest-thumping production about searching for a missed connection with an old flame.

With minimal drum patterns, simple harmonies, and chest-rattling bass lines, the EP as a whole serves as an ode to the era of late 90s to early 2000s R&B. Rather than presenting themselves as carbon copies of groups from the time, Sonder builds on the things that defined the era by incorporating sensuous vocals and live instrumentation with riskier song progressions. Atu and Dpat give the EP life with their innovative production and a sense of constant evolution, all the while Faiyaz layers on airy melodies, which create a mood piece to be remembered.