The last time we heard from Georgia Anne Muldrow, the tireless Inglewood native released Ocotea, a swanky, experimental jazz recording that honored her West Coast roots and summoned the trailblazing spirit of Sun-Ra’s quirky “arkestry.” The instrumental project, laced with the unconventional peculiarity for which Georgia is known, also showcased her fearless tenacity for merging genres with a genuine hip-hop aesthetic. The marriage led to a sophisticated concoction, mature enough to satisfy traditional jazz elitists and modern enough to pacify alternative souls. With VWETO — an East African term meaning “gravity” — Georgia goes electronic, jumping effortlessly from early-1980s Zulu funk to bouncy, atmospheric space grooves. Unlike Ocotea, which seemed suited for fall and winter, VWETO is summery and energetic, bathed in California sunshine and comprehensible for all listeners. Then again, Georgia has shown that she doesn’t care about accessibility. There’s only so much room on SomeOthaShip.
That stubborn zeal is the cornerstone of Georgia’s innocent charm, as an ambitious dissenter making music on her own terms — unapologetic and limitless. For instance, in my Okayplayer review of Ocotea this summer, I praised the album for its great range, and chastised it for being slightly inaccessible. Georgia told me on Twitter that she appreciated the analysis, but her brand of jazz “ain’t no Kenny G!” VWETO is anything but inaccessible, as each instrumental blends easily into the next, making for one of the most cohesive projects in Georgia’s extensive discography. While some of the songs run a little long, they’re still lively enough to keep your attention. “Fonk Stroll”, a down-tempo piano-laced harmony, runs almost 7 minutes and is punctuated by all the bells, hisses and whistles of a typical West Coast song. It crescendos at times to an almost volcanic point of unrest, then quickly settles back into its comfortable place. “Funkrocker”, with an insistent electric guitar riff, is schizophrenically delightful and splits time between soul and grunge, without sounding forced. The break-beat vibe of “Zulu Bounce” is a direct reflection of Afrika Bambaataa’s iconic “Planet Rock”, which set the course for hip-hop’s electronic era.
Georgia Anne Muldrow is a certified chameleon who satisfies her own indulgence, while keeping listeners on their toes. And that’s not a bad thing, since much of today’s music can be digested and disregarded so easily. Unfortunately, with the advent of the Internet and other media, we are bombarded with so many melodies that they becomes disposable, risking a deaf ear toward those with meaningful messages. Georgia definitely has something to say, whether she’s discussing New Orleans’ blight or the sun’s effect on Earth. All told, she’s quickly established herself as a triple threat — singing, rhyming and producing with a furious passion. For whatever reason, her music always seems to rise to the surface, even if her peers don’t enjoy that same success. Her latest creation is layered, clean and downright effervescent. Listen soon, as another album is certainly around the corner. Don’t take my word for it, though: “… more on the way dis year,” Georgia said recently on her Twitter page, “y’all know how we do.”[audio:http://potholesinmyblog.flywheelsites.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Georgia-Anne-Muldrow-Funkrocker.mp3|titles=Georgia Anne Muldrow – “Funkrocker”]