I wasn't familiar with American guitarist Rafiq Bhatia until somebody kindly hipped me to his premiere recordings, Strata (EP) (Rest Assured) and Yes it Will (LP/CD) (Rest Assured).
I am so glad to be hearing his music. His playing, like his composing/arranging, is exhilaratingly singular. Everything comes out of his very evolved, very declamatory finger-picking style. Rafiq will finger pick a complicated pattern where another guitarist-composer would supply a couple of notes or chords. So it's an extremely ornate style but also one which has the rhythmic push of the in-time picking patterns.
Rafiq covers a jazz-rock of his own making. There's a little hip-hop in there and a hip band, outness and in-ness combined in interesting ways and very memorable compositions.
This is music with a real flair, on every level. Get the EP and the LP!!