another review from Cobus Rossouw creator of 88 Kilos of Sunshine
Lenelle Moïse Presents The Expatriate Amplification Project (featuring Karla Mosley)
Nothing excites me more than brave projects in music. I live for the discovery of something refreshingly different. In the case of the Expatriate Amplification Project, brought to life by Lenelle Moïse, the experience is rewarding not just because the project is creatively brave, but also because the execution and talent is audible in every breath.
This album consists in its entirety of vocals, with two loop machines allowing for breaths, squeaks, trills and plosives to create a backdrop for Lenelle Moïse and Karla Mosley’s breathtaking vocals. Other reviewers have commented on the contrast between Moïse’s contralto and Mosley’s soprano and I’m sure the reader will have read those, but bear with me as I wax lyrical about this combination.
As everyone knows by now I am a lover of great voices and great vocal performances. It should therefore be no surprise that I would love an album such as this. Moïse brings all the jazz, all the serious, all the heart and soul that is music and pours it over this album like molten honey. Mosley adds to this the passion, the fervour, the ambition the angels. When these two combine, as on the Body Part Song it lifts the listener as much as an Andreas Scholl Agnes Dei and perhaps more, because inside of Expatriate is more than training and perfection, there is life, lessons and a search for personal liberation.
So it is serious stuff, and the lyrics bear this out, with Motherland a lament for places left behind or places adopted, Baby Powder bringing us into the horror of social deprivation, Aliens taking us through disenfranchisement into the possibilities inherent in everyone. And it is this turnabout, this hope that is apparent in every song (no matter the bleakness of the landscape) that made this more than simply a glorious vocal album. If I had to sum it up with one word it would be “honest” and in today’s world I think that’s high praise.
This is interesting, rewarding, thought-provoking, beautiful and pure. It is not a flawless album, but its flaws are relevant to the experience, if anything the flaws are necessary.
On “The Makings” Moïse writes and Mosley sings “I got the makings of a great jazz singer”, and listening to both performers on this album, I can only concur.
You can hear tracks from this album on the NBT podcast of the 16th Sept and beyond