Artist Watch: Mahaut Mondino

Monday, December 8, 2014

With a twitchy single like, "Jungle", Parisian singer/songwriter Mahaut Mondino is onto something. Infectious to the hilt and daring to be different, Mondino has sculpted her music in a vibrant new medium. It is a glaring fact though that Mondino is the daughter of THE Jean-Baptise Mondino, and he has helped her cultivate her visual aesthetic by directing her all of her videos thus far. But Mondino, while inheriting an artistic gene from her photographing papa, is still driving in her own lane.

She first cut her teeth working on production duo Supreme Cuts' 2013 album, Divine Ecstasy, contributing to the pieces "Gone" and "Brown Flowers". Out on her own, Mondino has gleaned together soulfully fringed trappy beat songs that, in essence, remind me of the humorous and harmonious funk of Maylee Todd. So full of play is the flirty "Voodoo Me", along with my favored "Jungle" and its hiccuping diction and punchy hip-pop sound. Unlike some, Mondino knows how to lasso that fluctuating voice of hers, and doesn't overindulge or overwork it. Her keen sense of this is best heard on her current single, "The Great Elements", a neo-jazz deal that steams and bewitches and keeps you intrigued throughout.

My only quibble is the quality of Mondino's visuals have left me a tad cold. Never the mind that Papa Mondino had a hand in them, and that Mahaut seems to exert a kinetic personality (though she skirts a wee bit too close to FKA Twigs' steeze for my taste...) --- they just didn't work for me. Uncultured swine I may be. Still, my criticisms towards Mondino's videos are not to belittle her voice, as she's got one --- a great one in fact --- and it's robust and soulful with just the right touch of variance that shows a kaleidoscopic personality at play.

Visuals aside, Mahaut Mondino is without a doubt one to watch, and with an EP premiering next year we'll be soon privy to many more 'great elements' when it arrives. So for now, lend an ear and fall into the funky....

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