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Burnt Sugar: More Than Posthuman – Rise of the Mojosexual Cotillion

Burnt Sugar, Greg Tate’s “23rd-century R&B” collective, has attracted to its ranks such pathbreaking jazz musicians as Vijay Iyer, Matana Roberts and Avram Fefer. The band’s sprawling, anarchic sensibility is best witnessed live, but this studio effort does them justice. The tracks veer from disco to death metal to noise and jazzy abstraction. If you would, imagine P-Funk forming a book club with Bad Brains, Curtis Mayfield and the Mothers of Invention to discuss the work of Frantz Fanon and Aimé Césaire.

Two discs of this perplexing collage aesthetic may be a bit much, and to be sure, More Than Posthuman is not without its dead spots. But the highlights are well worth listing: Akiba Solomon’s compelling black feminist oratory on “Enjoy Being Visible 2.0;” Matana Roberts’ duet with bassist Jared Nickerson on “Naomi’s Lullaby;” Iyer’s spirited pianistics on “Other Arrangements;” virtuosic rapping by Beans on “Sleep Is the Cousin of Def;” erotic prose from Carl Hancock Rux on “The Final Daze;” and hilarious overheard banter between Rux and Stefanie Kelly on the concluding “Goodyear Rubber.” The female vocalists are the ones who hold the thing together. They include Lisala on “Kungfucious” and “Be4Real,” Somi on “Enjoy Being Visible” and Imani Uzuri on the scathing “Get a Life.”

Originally Published