Look back at most of the key moments in Detroit's dance music history and you will find Alton Miller. A co-founder of The Music Institute club alongside Chez Damier and George Baker, Miller helped found the Motor City's presence in house and techno. His own catalog, which goes back 25 years, is scattered across seminal labels from Detroit's first (Transmat, KMS) and second wave (Planet E, Mahogani Music). Miller's sound hasn't changed much along the way, and his jazzy, vocal-driven deep house has made him a reliable, but somewhat overlooked, staple of the Detroit scene.
Miller is in exuberant form on his debut for Theo Parrish's Sound Signature label. "Bring Me Down" utilizes the vocal talents of another veteran Detroit musician, Maurissa Rose. The optimistic anthem begins with dreamy chords and some well-placed synths, after which Rose's verse and a beatdown bassline drive the feeling home. Hand drums and piano drop in and out of the mix, and eventually some ascending chords partner with Rose's acrobatic voice. The lyrics—"As long as I believe in me… You're not gonna bring me down"—read like a motivational poster, but the track's musicality keeps it buoyant.
Theo Parrish's strength is his ability to find the sweet spot between the body and mind. The intro of his jazzy remix of "Bring Me Down" is identical to the original's, but he quickly introduces his trademark kick, chunky and loose, and a four-note piano motif. Listed as a "translation," not a remix, Parrish attempts to transpose Rose's message of self-belief to keys, soloing madly as she reaches her soulful peak. He's faithful to the spirit of Miller's original, while transforming it into a careening piece of future soul. Along with the recent Gentrified Love Part 1 12-inch, it's some of his best music in years.