Not many albums have the potential to make such significant waves in the genres of blues, soul, jazz, and trip hop like that of Georgia Anne Muldrow. Her latestes album as her apparent alter-ego Jyoti is her latest expedition through uncharted waters, fearlessly blazing on with confidnece and finesse. Here’s a painstaking breakdown of Ocotea’s nine tracks that are larger than any nine tracks have ever been.
1. The Black Mother
Swingin’ jazz lines stack up with reverberating trippy sounds until an ethereal melody and countermelody come in. The rhthym section never stops, not once, and the constant repeating lines all seem to alternatingly work against and in favor of one another until the final, eternal cymbal crash.
2. Psalm of Rubble
This whole song jars you to the core, almost jeering at your inability to digest it. Layering a host of synth sounds against drums, bass, piano, the two sides fight for your attention. At only a minute and six seconds, the shortest musical brianstorm of the album is both potent and poignant.
3. Thread’s First Stitches
It’s acid jazz in space, but somehow significantly more surreal like a ghost story set in space. Or as if you were playing an acid jazz album that was a 45 rpms at 78 rpms. The last minute is a massive tower of fluctuating wah’s and wow’s, the effect of weightlessness in space.
4. The Language of the Flame
I love this tune because it’s like a culture clash of the titans: a grungy hip hop beat, polished DJ scratches, eerie piano and synth piano lines that occasionally support and more often than not rub each other the wrong way.
5. Unchanged Reverie
The rhthm and vaguely discordant synth sounds are very foreboding, the only saving grace the heavy organ that does everything you never thought an organ could do.
While this track was my least favorite because of its more than campy beat, the sounds used to create that beat are still pretty interesting by themselves.
7. The Captain’s Eye
This ballad is steeped in smooth jazz, if smooth jazz was made by lovesick robots. It starts with a dirty drumline and gradually adds modified synth horn lines that revel in R&B-inspired melancholia that is strangely reassuring.
8. Blessed Matches
Fusion is almost too calm a word to describe the goings-on of this song, a more than heated discussion between the straight-ahead jazz piano lines and the experimental flutterings of the synth flute.
The constant hand claps and congas that provide the bottom to this song could seem ominous or celebratory, depending on how you perceive the intent of the spacey synth sounds that accompany them. There’s also a host of unusual electronic sounds: an almost-flute, a deranged pipe organ, a psuedo-kazoo. There were parts to this song that my brain could not follow upon first listen, I had to rewind the track a few times to fully grasp the alignment of the rhythms she pitted against one-another, shaking my head in disbelief.
Ocotea was released June 15th, and it is available on iTunes.