Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Georgia Anne Muldrow - Kings Ballad (2010)


For fans of: Erykah Badu, Madlib, Janelle Monáe

This woman's taking neo-soul higher and farther, combining the hip-hop and soul with some fantastic modern beats and instrumentation. If you wish hip-hop had more singing and well-written lyrics, or if you wish soul music had more oompf and funk, this is what you're wishing for. There's a great feeling of experimentation and adventure here that is really inspiring, yet it also has plenty of accessibility and doesn't suffer from over-indulgence. Influences seem to come from anywhere and everywhere, just listening to "Thatch," with it's electronic squeaks and dance beat, I know this is something special. Along with Erykah Badu, this is opening a big door of discovery for me. - Matthew Foster

"Kings Ballad, following Umsindo by only six months and released on Ubiquity instead of her and husband Dudley Perkins’ SomeOthaShip, is Georgia Anne Muldrow's most direct, least idiosyncratic release, if only by a shade or two. Once again, Muldrow the do-it-all provides an organic, modern brand of psychedelic funk, a sample-less fusion of several black music forms that, depending on the song, could provide the backdrop for children playing double dutch or a political rally. Less sprawling than Umsindo (it’s 25 minutes shorter), its centerpiece is the title track, a gracious tribute to family friend Michael Jackson that carries a deep bass rumble, an elegiac organ, and a cascading piano line that enters -- stunningly so -- as Muldrow joyously sings, “We love you, Michael/We needed you, Michael.” The energy is, as ever, uniformly positive, albeit with a spirit that is more commonly playful, as on “Simple Advice” (loaded with so much kinetic percussion that it resembles a go-go band’s warm-up session), “Summer Love” (a lighthearted duet with Perkins over crawling, “Cutie Pie”-like machine funk), and “Room Punk!” (45 seconds of happily throwaway pop-punk). Even the songs packing a message can be enjoyed without deep concentration. Brief instrumentals are interspersed, and they are typically as replay-worthy as the full-blown songs, highlighted by the eerie and cosmic “Industrial Bap.”" - AMG

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