The latest iteration of Georgia Anne Muldrow’s VWETO series (meaning “gravity” in Kikongo) builds on the success of the previous two with a 17-track clinic on creating rhythmic frameworks that wow you with their complexity and propel you into movement.
As a producer, Muldrow has worked with a range of industry titans including Mos Def, J Dilla, Erykah Badu, and Robert Glasper; her own catalog of recordings––more than 20 full-length albums since her first in 2006––showcases an even wider range of musical styles. You can find her rapping over ’90s old school beats on A Thoughtiverse Unmarred; you can dig into Mama, You Can Bet! (named on The New York Times’ Top 20 Albums of 2020) and get in touch with her jazz roots––her father, Ronald Muldrow, was saxophonist Eddie Harris’ sideman on guitar for decades.
Discussing the conception and evolution of VWETO III, Muldrow expresses a desire to build music that creates its own environment: one of her influences was “an Isaac Hayes LP where even the reverb had grain and texture”. These tracks are “intended for movement” and should “be played when you birth yourself back outside after a long introspective period to get the things you need.” The long introspective period of the past year is proof that Muldrow didn’t start baking bread in her downtime off tour, but rather an intricately varied beat tape that elevates itself into the status of a proper album by creating its own atmosphere.
Jean-Michel Basquiat said, “Art is how we decorate space. Music is how we decorate time.” He didn’t say this about VWETO III, but the album is a ringing endorsement of this notion. “Slow Drag” immediately throws you in between a steady piano groove and a shimmering organ, then gets you nodding your head with its wailing guitar. “Unforgettable” jets across a lush landscape built from several different layers of synth. The variety of instrumentation on “Passin Ooout!” will astonish you when you realize there’s only one musician behind it. Outside of a couple of guest appearances on vocals, VWETO III is entirely Muldrow’s own: composed, recorded, mixed, and mastered by Muldrow herself.
On Overload, her 2018 Grammy-nominated release, “Vital Transformation” offers this declaration: “If you know me well / you know that I ain’t the kinda girl who likes to waste her time.” That statement is irrefutable when you consider both the quality and quantity of her work. VWETO III makes 2021 the fourth consecutive year with at least one new album from Muldrow.
Her collaborators have compared her to Nina Simone, Roberta Flack, and Ella Fitzgerald; that’s high praise, for certain, though Muldrow possesses the sort of roving, genre-bending creativity that defies comparison. In 2009, Early became her third full-length album, but it was recorded seven years earlier when Muldrow was only 17––further proof of the fact that she’s never been one to waste time. Her latest album solidifies her status as an artist to watch closely for decades to come.