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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Elliptical: The Music of Meshell Ndegeocello is a book of musical commentary by Andre Akinyele and Jon O'Bergh. The authors take their readers on a journey through the complete works of contemporary artist Meshell Ndegeocello, album by album, offering various insights from technical, personal and emotional levels as to the secret of her success. In each chapter, Andre Akinyele reflects personally on the album and the ways in which Ndegeocello’s music inspired his life at the time, whilst musician Jon O'Bergh then takes over to delve into the musical nuances that make up the work and goes some way in explaining how such original and rule-breaking sound is formed.
Having never heard the music of Meshell Ndegeocello before, I thought I might be lost when reading Elliptical, but its authors do a splendid job of drawing you into their work, whether you are an expert or a novice in the field of contemporary music. I loved Andre Akinyele’s colourful account of his own life and career as he recounts where he was in the world when each album was released and his enthusiasm and excitement for Ndegeocello’s latest works. Jon O'Bergh presents masterful music journalism to accompany this with full biographical and developmental information about the artist and her craft. Overall, this combination forms a whole world of interesting music and experiences for the reader to step into, and I for one have come away from Elliptical: The Music of Meshell Ndegeocello wanting to explore the artist herself and experience the music.