Georgia Anne Muldrow

Olesi: Fragments of an Earth
(Stones Throw)

Olesi: Fragments of an Earth, completely produced and sung by Georgia Anne Muldrow, may be the most idiosyncratic soul album released this year. Most of the songs last less than three minutes, living up to the title's promise as "fragments" and random thoughts. Muldrow manipulates her voice, double-tracking it and adding echoing effects. The result turns the songs into jazzily constructed impressions supported by dense, crackling hip-hop beats. On "New Orleans," she bellows "There's a history/In the water/That they don't show us" with the force of Ella Fitzgerald as drum patterns furiously circulate around her. "Because" finds her blissfully singing a mantra so stylized it's difficult to make out the words. She even raps with considerable skill: "Every day I wake up every morning trying to dream in my free time/Trying to expedite the very moment that we shine" ("West Coast Recycler"). Wrapped in sphinx-like riddles and plenty of bravado, Olesi: Fragments of an Earth is a rhapsody best heard on Muldrow's own terms.

 
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