reviewed by Ben Hogwood
What’s the story?
“VWETO III is intended for movement”, writes Georgia Anne Muldrow on her Bandcamp page. “It’s to be played when you birth yourself back outside after a long introspective period to get the things you need.”
‘Vweto’ is a word in the Congolese Kikongo language meaning ‘gravity’ – and it suits Muldrow’s grounded approach, as she draws on hip hop, jazz, funk and soul for her inspirations.
Most of the album’s 17 tracks are instrumental, but space is allowed for vocals, “like DIY songs that people can have for themselves”, she writes. “I want to see the sisters rapping up a storm.”
What’s the music like?
Very much ‘alive’. Muldrow’s refusal to process her music too much leads right to the human heart of the music, with irregularities welcome in both pitch and rhythm. Just a few seconds of Old Jack Swings are what’s required, the low slung beats and grubby bass line combining in an earthy sound.
Georgia’s music is spaced out but with a firm sense of direction too, so the lovely wide-screen synth trappings and psychedelic loops are given solid, bassbin-bothering beats. Slave Revoltalleyway Boom has a great combination of squelchy bass, cool keyboard and a rhythm purposefully dragging its feet, while throwback baps gets its winding piano into a circular loop.
Meanwhile Slow Drag gives musical signposts towards one of Georgia’s mentors, Alice Coltrane, with its spiritually rich organ sound. Alternatively Grungepiece shreds its guitar against a sprinkling of piano dust.
The vocals are good, too – Love Call Groove has a sultry air, while the rapping on Ayun Vegas Session 1 matches Georgia’s rich alto
It is difficult to know where the analogue stops and the digital starts on VWETO III – proof of Muldrow’s successful fusion of past, present and future.
Does it all work?
Yes. As she did in the previous two volumes of this series, Georgia operates an extremely open musical policy, and the fresh improvisation on a lot of these tracks gives them a freshly minted feel.
Is it recommended?
It is. VWETO III achieves its aim of looking outwards and upwards, celebrating the likely return to the outdoors and positive living. Its freedom is at odds with the closed environments of the last year and a half, and its stylistic blends and inventions are invigorating. More power to her elbows!
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