It has to be said that the press release that accompanies this CD is mad as you like. For a start, the concept of the piece involves a recently-deceased “funk astronaut” Pattie Blingh and her band the Akebulan 5. In fact, the album is the work of one Georgia Anne Muldrew, known associate of Declaime and and other such random underground heads.
The description that springs immediately from the Big Book Of Music Reviewing Cliches is “Psychedelic Neo-Soul”… think Erykah Badu flung far (further?) out of her mind by an excess of pills and potions. In fact, the offbeat nature of the backing tracks (I think worked up by Muldrew herself, but don’t quote me on that…) places Pattie Blingh in the same relation to the sounds of Madlib’s Stone’s Throw label as Erykah Badu bore to more traditional sample-based Hip-Hop producers back in the day.
03. Fidelity: Do Right, Girl
04. Mama: Everything
05. Lara Bush: In HOT Grease
07. Rebelyouthwithskill, feat. DECLAIME
08. MAAFA: Transatlantic Dementia
09. The Clearing
10. Brother: The Point
The other screamingly obvious reference point here would be George Clinton, not least for the sheer disregard shown to any deliberative sense of focus or convention. Muldrew is definitely influenced; and she is definitely driven in certain directions both musically and politically. However, the utmost looseness is allowed in applying these drives and influences… take as a good example the critiques of the Bush administration scattered throughout the album. The phrase “freedom fries” drifts in and out of one track and another makes mention of Laura Bush, but looking through the lyrics listed in the liner notes leaves one falling well short of Pattie’s full meaning if one fails to take in the musical and emotional context.
This is a vague album but also an intriguing one. Its strength is that it manages to stay just on the right side of the thin line that divides artistic expression from self-indulgence. As such, it is always an interesting listen, rewarding repeat plays and close attention. While by no means a work of bona-fide genius, this is great chill-out music which is also potentially thought-provoking, spaced-out music which can also be enjoyed with feet firmly on the ground. Who could ask for more?