12" vinyl / CD album
21 july 2003
' a beautiful soundtrack for your life that teases out those dormant emotions ' - DJ
Given the fact that 24 year old James Rutledge; aka Pedro first delivered his debut EP [ melo001 ] for the melodic label in June 1999, indicates to us that this is a young man that wishes and deserves to have his album taken seriously. But this is no time for bemused corrugated foreheads. This album has twists and turns but is not one that cannot be understood. This album was well worth the wait. Shall we dispense with the Folktronica tag at this stage then? Why not. When a record has so many signifying strands, it would be trite to dismiss it as simply that.
As James puts it himself, ' I was trying to take a hip hop aesthetic and expand the range of references to stuff like 20th century classical, jazz, 2 step, early electronic music - all the stuff that I get inspired by. I wanted to move on from the sound of my 2 ep's and I think I'm progressing '
A humble heart or simple understatement? We think the recordings are a validation of him chasing hell and high water for that new found aesthetic. Essentially, he is finding his voice, in the only way he knows how; through a distillation of many many music forms. The warmth of To Rococo Rot, coupled with the hip hop backbone of Boom Bip and the ambition of Jim O' Rourke. A morphing electronic player with the underpinning of rock.
What singles Pedro out from the crowd is the soulful elements and the doffed cap towards nature. For a man that has recently relocated to London, this album is covered in shrubbery. His life of old. But before one thinks about the parochial, Pedro's mastery of programming slaps doubters into place and onto a fast track to the modern age.
Special mentions must go to The Water Ran This Way Back And Forth; like an energised hug from your partner, before Pharoah Sanders blasts in and takes the kids on a journey, 1-2-3. This track holds the evidence of his love's labour; the track being about an hours worth of work processed and pasted down into nine minutes; a master magpie at work, picking and choosing licks and tricks to hang off of his vision. Again, Fear And Resilience displays a certain innocent rough meets smooth: Disney / degenerate axis galloping through the glade!
What with the debut album due, another album of early work (to be released early 2004) and many collaborative moments beginning to land on the table, on the back of last years EP with Kathryn Williams, other fans are surely waiting in the wings.
When you realise that the name Pedro actually comes from the Alex Cox movie 'Highway Patrolman' who is by all accounts quite a luckless chap, the ultimate paradox finally arrives. Hopefully the wonderfully transcendent mood JR found in making this record will transfer to you - THE LISTENER. On this occasion, Pixels do weave a (real) person.
Lastly, be sure to catch his live debut, alongside Minotaur Shock and label boss David Cooper @ this years Sonar festival on June 12th. James has also contributed music to the forthcoming film The Last Great Wilderness, on general release from May. This resulted in collaborations with The Pastels, John McEntire and Kevin Shields. The fantastic artwork comes c/o the art world mavericks Shynola. Beautiful no?
|© melodic 2004|