Kanii Axtro’s new EP, KRWN, is as much raw experimentation as it is a gritty ode to women

Serving both as a celebration of women and something of a birthday commemoration for her late mother, Kanii Axtro’s (aka Banzii Mavuso) new EP dropped last Friday and it’s a bite-sized, experimental piece of abstract art.

Opening on perhaps the most harrowing track of the EP, “Melancholia’s Friend” tracks a deft and daunting path through rasping, gritty synth and spoken word. A dark, cluttered beat pulls up tufts of emotion. It’s meant to make you uncomfortable and it will. “Do we know our purpose/ lately I am so empty,” she spits.

The word “transcending” makes a regular appearance too. Which is apt because the EP title, KRWN, directly correlates to the crown chakra – which gives one access to higher states of consciousness. It’s a gold vein of additional meaning which underpins the whole project.

“Shades” takes a different turn though. Featuring Amy Ayanda, Amathongo and Andy Mkosi, it’s an unexpectedly vibrant Afro-pop meets maskandi patchwork canvas of a track which serves solely to uplift – before a drum-and-bassy remix of “Melancholia’s Friend” wraps up the 3-track EP with frenzied staccato nuance.

This is Kanii Axtro’s contribution to women’s month: an appropriately balanced creation of fury-meets-contentment. And in many ways I think we can all relate.