Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Moor Mother - Circuit City ( Don Giovanni Records, 2020)

Moor Mother is a singer / songwriter / activist who is most well known for being the vocalist for the wonderful modern jazz group Irreversible Entanglements. Musicians from that group join her here along side the Circuit City Band, a group that came together to perform a play of the same name, one that would present a dystopian future setting to raise well deserved points about issues we face today such as poor living conditions, the effect of media and the overall technological landscape. Moor Mother is the perfect vocalist for this project, here distilled as a song cycle, talk singing and projecting her voice which comes from deep down in her diaphragm and her soul, along with her ability to cut through whatever squalling instrumental accompaniment might be surrounding her. "Act 1 - Working Machine" has a wonderful instrumental opening for thick bass and powerful horn playing. Moor Mother enters with an anguished voice sounding manic and deeply in character. In one sense she is an actor in a radio drama, but one the other hand, she is turning the lyrics and focus to the suppression that black people have suffered in America. The group raises an almighty ruckus at times, rampaging like a whirlwind around her declamatory vocals but also able to produce a Sun Ra Lanquidity like setting for her duet with fellow poet / vocalist Elton Battle on "Act 3 - Time of No Time." The concluding track "Act 4 - No More Wires" has robust saxophone playing at the forefront, adding electronics and powerful vocals demanding the return of freedom and agency that has been taken. The instrumental section is over the top thrilling free jazz, leading to a massive percussion section and conclusion. This was an excellent and very powerful album, one that will grab the attention of any open minded person immediately and make them really think. Moor Mother is exceptional as a vocalist, speaker and singer, and the band is top notch throughout. Circuit City - bandcamp

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