The causes are undoubtedly many and varied, but, for some intriguing aggregate of reasons, R&B has become one of the most vital and innovative sectors of the current music landscape. Perhaps it is the genres ability to broach dark, complex emotions with both raw power and kinetic energy—often intertwining with either dance, sex, or both—that has made R&B the mode of choice for artists looking to explore a fragmented world where “love” is often the answer and the problem (the visions of Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye laid the foundation for the present, but their conception of love is as far from anything the Weeknd has recorded as can be conceived).

Project Maldonado creeps onto the internet shrouded in mystery, accompanied by a curious multi-tiered website (including music, a trailer, and a story) and the simple, chilling “about” phrase, taken from one of the group’s lyrics: “The Devil does to me what joy does to sorrow.”

Project Maldonado is music for a world drenched in drugs, sex, and the search for God—or rather a god, anything to believe in and hold onto as solid. It is thoroughly modern while touching on timeless topics, an intriguing marriage of sounds (anyone familiar with UK R&B at the moment will feel at home hearing the EP’s hazy, bass-y palette) and ideas to match.

Perhaps to speak so highly of Project Maldonado—a product of as yet unknown origins that taps into a current musical zeitgeist, for better or worse—is to ascribe too much meaning to a calculated agglomeration of elements intended to be provocative. Of course, this sort of project may be exactly what some listeners (and the genre at large) need, an exploration of relationships—both physical and spiritual—deeper than your average Trey Songz “I’m sorry I cheated, I’ll be a better man” song.

Explore Project Maldonado’s weird world here and give the EP a listen below.