Derrick Branch is a musician and singer-songwriter hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is known for posting a video on Facebook regarding the prejudice he has faced in the past for his taste music and the way he dresses. To make a recording as spacious as “Solo” takes confidence, and yet the deeper the track is explored, the more it seems to be an acceptance of fragility as Branch trades accessibility of conventionalism for the accessibility of purified emotion.
The single is a reverb-filled song that echoes drum pads and embraces vocal melody. As filtered through technology as it is, the song feels deceptively human, Branch’s voice driving like a nail between eeriness and personal sentiment. There’s a focus on the vibe of confessionalism, as Derrick Branch makes “Solo” seem like a beautiful collage, a creative process fueled by perfectionism.
It qualifies as minimalist avant-garde RnB; the reflection of something that challenges what you know, what you’ve been taught, what you’ve learned, and then questions what remains, what can be discovered, what’s still ignorantly regarded as truth.
The track presents Branch’s brand of minimalism in the guise of mellow repeating choruses. He doesn’t sketch his choruses with the production of a radio hit. Instead he welcomes pop in pastel tones, choosing electric guitars over traditional synths.
“Solo” sways into a lull of smooth production, but there’s no paucity of inspiration. The bittersweet sentimentality of naivety and dreams reaches its peak, and Derrick Branch feels it intensely.
He creates the feeling of distanced isolation. This is an artist confronting his options, and Branch does so in a way that bares all, without sounding like a sloppy, sappy mess.
Derrick Branch is the kind of singer-songwriter that comes along to break the monotony of the same old stuff. His music is compelling, imaginative and a breath of fresh air compared to the sound-alike mass produced electronically enhanced vocals of today. If you like mellow smooth vocals along with creative musical arrangement, this is a good listen.
But what really makes Branch so distinct from the saturated market of R&B and Hiphop artists, is his artistic approach to his music. “Solo” is one of those rare tracks in the mainstream that lets listeners delve into the artist’s psyche, and thankfully Derrick Branch is an interesting person to listen to.
When he wants you to feel love, you will feel it. When he wants you to feel hope, you will feel it. When he wants you to feel despair, you will feel it. And by the end of it all, you will just feel happy you took this emotional roller coaster.