CD Review: Meshell Ndegeocello "Comet, Come To Me"

She’s one of the most eclectic artists in modern soul, yet bassist and singer/songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello still sounds restless.
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She’s one of the most eclectic artists in modern soul, yet bassist and singer/songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello still sounds restless. Her eleventh CD is a gem of retro-futuristic R&B with bass at its core, from her dub-style lines on the spacy title track to the curvy low-end lilt of “Modern Time” and the rarified slide, slap, and pop of the near-disco number “Conviction” (featuring Earl Harvin in toothy P-Bass mode). Front to back, Meshell doesn’t just play the bass; she somehow merges with it.

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Meshell Ndegeocello: Devil’s Halo [Mercer Street-Downtown]

Meshell’s prolific pen continues to astound on her latest. Few bass players so effectively balance extraordinary skill on the instrument with a genuinely artful and ambitious approach to composition, production, and concept. Unlike her past few efforts, Devil’s Halo is more substantially the product of human hands and less the result of extensive time in front of a sequencer. The record is as dynamic as ever, though, with alternately dreamy and ethereal tunes taking massive left-turns into aggressive go-go and punk. Ndegeocello’s playing and tone have evolved to encompass massive fluency in each style, and this engaging new record is appreciable on many levels. In short, it’s deep.