Monday, September 13, 2010

Amp Fiddler/Sly & Robbie - Inspiration Information (2008)


For fans of: Erykah Badu, Dâm-Funk, Raphael Saadiq

I've never been much of a soul fan, but recently I've been on a huge Erykah Badu and Sade kick. I came into this album having heard another from the Inspiration Information series and hoping to expand on the little soul I've heard, and I'm enjoying it much more than I could have imagined. The bass is really great in some of the songs here, digging a groove within the groove, and Sly & Robbie's reggae influence adds a really nice element to the music. Amp's soulful voice and the interesting and groovy production make a great combo and results in a very unique sounding and enjoyable set of songs. - Matthew Foster

"Arriving at Anchor Studios in Kingston, Jamaica, armed only with a handful of acoustic vocal ideas, Amp and the Riddim Twins recorded the album in just three days during June with overdubs laid down a week later in Detroit. “We work fast,” says Robbie. “Time is money!” The result is a confident, laid back set that brings a whole new twist to Amp’s trademark vocal style: Sly builds innovative digital and live rhythms, Robbie underpins the tracks with solid bass foundations and original generation guests “Sticky” Thompson (percussion) and Dalton Browne (guitar) add plenty of colour. Back in Detroit, Amp knitted together the finishing touches, adding extra keys and backing vocals.

The tracks are never predictable, at times echoing Sly & Robbie’s ‘80s days with Island Records at Compass Point studios, at others structured around more mood-based keyboard pads and new patterns re-inventing the established dancehall template. “It’s been amazing – the level of musicianship is sky high,” explains Amp. “Sly & Robbie work so well together – everything has happened really smoothly.” Within the sessions, the trio honed both new compositions and covers, including a pertinent re-work of a George Clinton-era classic, ‘Paint The White House Black’ re-titled by Sly as ‘Black House’. They also revisited select tracks from Amp’s ‘Waltz Of A Ghetto Fly’ album from 2004, with Amp favourites like ‘I Believe In You’ re-worked over a lilting reggae base. The album was mixed in London by another original Island Records studio regular, Godwin Logie, complete with extra dub versions of selected tracks worked live off the desk." - Strut Records

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