Cherimondis J is “Unleashed” with her offbeat brand of neo-soul
If you live in Columbus, and know of a certain Derek Christopher, for the past couple of years you’ve probably heard him endorse nonstop a certain artist named Daizha Johnson. Her stage name is Cherimondis J, and she’s here to wow you and expand your horizons.
“Wolf” kicks off the EP with a crash course in what she’s about. It’s a smooth ride, with some twists and turns inserted just to keep you guessing. Some laughter that borders on maniacal, but mostly just sounds confident, is the most unlikely source of satisfaction in this song. In a way it’s a metaphor for what Cherimondis is about an artist—crafting unlikely sources of satisfaction.
Sidenote—I feel the closest comparison to her is Sudan Archives, a looping violinist who often performs with just her instrument and a bevy of pedals. She wowed the audience at the Newport as the opening act for Future Islands. As I listen to “Dontcha Wanna Dance” I sit here thinking Cherimondis could have easily been that opening act as well—possibly with Future Islands’ frontman Samuel T Herring nodding in approval with some of his comically passionate dance moves.
Who wants to direct that music video?
“Maybe If I” is unsettling. This would fit on a playlist alongside most of Thom Yorke’s 2019 Anima album. Eerie minor melodies carry the song, and her vocals are delicate yet sure.
“Mind Over Matter” is darkly ethereal, and similarly unsettling to its predecessor. The vocals oscillate between spoken word and melody. What sounds like they could be layered vocals with heavy reverb—or maybe its strings—forms a canopy over lyrics that are communicated in a matter of fact way. “The EverEnding,” in contrast, vaguely reminds me of a cut from a Sylvan Esso album—if they cut a track in the middle of a field under the night sky, rather than under the bright lights, so to speak.
Recently, the new 614 Music Club site did a very in-depth interview with Cherimondis that peels back the layers of this artist more than we ever could in an an album review, but read that and you’ll get a sense of the themes you’ll find us dissecting in this transcendent EP.
The main hypeman behind Cherimondis has in the past recommended I be less of a cheerleader on this site. The truth is, I’m hard pressed to find fault with this release. I know it won’t be for everyone and that some of the elements some folks might find confusing. I don’t think my parents would be into this music, for example. I suppose this is more of an EP for music lovers than casual listeners, but I would be happy to be proven wrong.