Olesi: Fragments of an Earth is a statement in the neo-soul world: On it, Georgia Anne Muldrow drops her own beats, creates a completely individual style, and lets it flow with much finesse and class. Muldrow grew up in Los Angeles, her father an instrument creator and her mother a singer with the Pharaoh Sanders Quartet; it seems that if there’s one thing she learned from her family, it’s how to innovate. Olesi is the follow-up to her critically acclaimed Worthnothings EP (which Stones Throw released earlier this year), and it shows the artist maturing. Her confidence has always been high to deliver such unconventional songs, but now the music fully supports the ego.
Much like a free-jazz record, Olesi demands you listen, its atonal grooves providing tension and making you yearn for resolution. The songs seem to flow in complete stream-of-conscious fashion, and the album’s structure is very loose, with some songs under a minute and others longer than five. But it always seems to work. Unlike on Worthnothings, where the structure was distracting and uninspired at times, the full-length feels like one large composition weaving through a set of large-thumping bass grooves. Her voice is her most powerful weapon — a beautiful, melodic instrument that accompanies the beat perfectly (see “New Orleans,” in which her vocals are morphed to flow like water) — but each listen to Olesi will uncover new elements hidden in Muldrow’s layers.