Amp Fiddler

Basementality

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Hopefully not a one-off in the manner of Mr. Fiddler's With Respect, the 1990 album that allowed the Brothers Fiddler to step into the spotlight from their usual background roles as stellar session hands, Basementality is a four-track, vinyl-only release bearing the name of the keyboard-playing sibling, Amp Fiddler. Though it's clearly Amp's party, his bass-playing brother Bubz is present on the JAN mix (aka Moodymann/Kenny Dixon, Jr.) of "Superficial," the highlight of this 12" release. On the JAN mix, Dixon reworks the original -- a stuttering downtempo R&B number with Amp's voice shifting between a tight strain and a silky smooth hook line -- into a dreamy, spare, funk-house workout with sudden kick-drum thumps that repeatedly come into play and then recede. Bubz works a simple but effective bassline that comes in every so often and becomes heavily anticipated for a return once it pulls out of the mix. "Eye to Eye," a gorgeous slice of funky, laid-back R&B, almost comes out on top as the best cut here. The only thing that prevents the song from being a radio hit -- aside from the low-key nature of the release, of course -- is its rawness. "You," while no slouch either, simply can't touch "Eye to Eye." It probably goes without saying to anyone familiar with Amp's keyboard work throughout the years, but his funky tones and wriggles are in full effect throughout. If he'd just release a full-length....

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 5:11
2 5:10
3
4:07
4 4:04
blue highlight denotes track pick