The New York Times proclaims “Rafiq Bhatia is writing his own musical language,” heralding him as “one of the most intriguing figures in music today.” A guitarist, composer, producer, and sound artist “who refuses to be pinned to one genre, culture or instrument,” Bhatia “treats his guitar, synthesizers, drum machines and electronic effects as architectural elements,” the Times writes. “Sound becomes contour; music becomes something to step into rather than merely follow.”
Bhatia’s 2018 album Breaking English finds a visceral common ground between ecstatic avant-jazz, mournful soul, tangled strings and building-shaking electronics, resulting in a "stunningly focused new sound" (Chicago Tribune) that resembles “science fiction on a blockbuster scale” (Washington Post). 2020’s Standards Vol. 1 (EP) renders repertoire from the American songbook “completely deconstructed, infused with brand new textures and electronic effects, dreamlike and beautiful” (BBC).
Bhatia has presented his music live in dozens of performances across three continents. He has been commissioned by the Kronos Quartet, Cincinnati Symphony, Walker Art Center, Liquid Music, Newfields, The Jazz Gallery, Toledo Museum of Art and more. Bhatia has collaborated with Arooj Aftab, Michael Cina, Dave Douglas, Vijay Iyer, Okkyung Lee, Billy Hart, Helado Negro, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Moses Sumney and many others.
Since 2014, Bhatia has been a member of the band Son Lux. Together, they have released three albums and numerous EPs, given over 500 performances worldwide, and scored the forthcoming feature Everything Everywhere All At Once for A24.
A native of North Carolina, Bhatia lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.