Georgia Anne Muldrow, Olesi: Fragments of an Earth

J. Edward Keyes

By J. Edward Keyes

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

After the dual triumphs of Dudley Perkins and Aloe Blacc, Stones Throw continue their expansion into neo-R&B with the full-length debut from Georgia Anne Muldrow. More than merely a pastiche or piece of self-conscious nostalgia, Olesi is a wholly original psychedelic masterpiece, the kind of record that Betty Davis and Eugene McDaniels were making during the twilight of the 1960s. The songs are insistently free-form: Muldrow's raw, soulful voice floats free over arrangements that range from jazz-club smoke ("Wrong Way") to pitch-black opium den ("New Orleans"). Muldrow's voice is layered and tugged and stretched, and the songs have a giddy elasticity: it's like someone pressed Silly Putty on to Stevie Wonder sheet music, stretched and then performed. Olesi is R&B seen through a kaleidoscope, one of the most bracing and original records of the year.