After a little time out of the spotlight, Brother Amp returned to the fore last week with the release of a brand new EP, and it’s just like he’s never been away.
Since releasing two solo albums, a collaborative effort with Sly and Robbie and a slew of well received EPs in the mid to late 00’s, it’s been a relatively quiet time on the production front for the soulful singer-songwriter with a penchant for keys. Aside from the few features or musician credits he notched up here and there on the work of fellow Detroit natives Andrés, Moodymann and Alton Miller, Amp Fiddler, it appears, has had more pressing matters to deal with over the past six years and his discography had all but ground to a halt.
That being said however, it appears we might finally have the prospect of a new album to look forward to in the somewhat near future, and right now a new EP, self-released digitally with little fanfare via his Bandcamp page last week, has certainly captured some of that old magic. Named ‘Basementality 2’ (a nod no doubt to his classic Basementality EP, released back in 2002 and instrumental in the artist’s subsequent introduction to the UK’s modern dancefloors), the six tracks on show fuse elements of soul, electronica, gospel, deep house and boogie to bring together a collection of songs each with their own individual merit. The apparent lead single (and one of the first tracks we immediately picked up on) ‘Take It’ features a rare appearance by Raphael Saadiq, who shares vocal duties on this modern soul cut, and sees the pair ride a pimped out groove punctuated with hand claps and a lovely organ vamp deep in the mix. Things are a little more ‘church’ influenced elsewhere with the call and response funkiness of ‘Yeah!’ and the foot-stomping extended remix of ‘Hold On’, a raucous tune penned in a more classic sense, that gradually progresses into skippy deep house territory as the kick drum takes hold. Daniel Crawford works the same tune in a slightly deeper fashion, pairing the rousing vocal with a more delicate electronic beat and employing a little mid-tempo swing to keep things moving in the bassline department. The set closes out with ‘More Than’, an introspective song that is certainly not an impassioned plea to the insurance company of the same name, but rather a spaced-out piece of futuristic R&B.
You can preview all the tracks in the player below and make your own decision on what’s up, but from our perspective it’s a welcome return by one of Motor City’s more soulful musical sons.