Imagine if you will the missing link between the folktronic Four Tet and high-class scratch artist DJ Shadow. Yup, that’s right, this is freeform folkadelica – rendered contemporary by a host of remixers.
Pedro is James Rutledge, and this is a remix version of his self-titled debut from last year, which, with its beautiful psychedelic layering of free folk-hop and processed acoustic melodies was like dipping into a whole new planet of sound. Taking a hip hop aesthetic and expanding the range of references to stuff like 20th century classical, jazz, two step and early electronica, this is music that twists and turns on the original beyond mere genre categorisation.
Taking the track Fear And Resilience from the debut and dishing it out to his favourite remixers has pushed the music in a more hip-hop direction with experimental blasts, which despite their diversity still seem to capture the distinctive Pedro sound. So you get the warm electronics of To Rococo Rot and Mouse on Mars married to the maverick musical sprawl of Jim O’Rourke, creating an engaging and rewarding excursion.
All tracks are named after the remixers at work. Prefuse 73 kicks off with cuts and splices like a masterchef welding snippets of genres together into a diverse sound. A melancholy melody weaves around acoustic pluckings, jazz bursts, looped snatches of beats, mashed vocals and is glitched to hell. As for the Cherrystones track it sneaks along on a sub-James Bond film noir brit-hop to good menacing effect.
The Danger Mouse version builds from a late night jazz bar vibe with the stakes being raised by the introduction of a chilled breakbeat and a looped flute and strings figure that hovers around like a spooked DJ Shadow joint. Feeling both nostalgic and forward looking, this is a sweet lullaby of a track with hidden teeth.
Pedro steps up to remix himself in a low-slung jazzy take. For pure out-thereness it has to be the demented ambient take by Home Skillet which with its disjointed percussive feel feels initially confusing and unkempt. On further listens it continues to disturb and intrigue with the alchemy at work. The sound of a drunk computer reeling around the room, spinning out grasping onto random objects to keep some grip on reality, then deciding the view from the weird side is more preferable.
Sixth track, an untitled jazz soundtrack, acts as a bridge before the closing epic 21 minute sprawl of Four Tet. True it can be something of an endurance test, but the payoff is worth waiting for. Like a mini symphony in itself in the epic style of Sun Ra, everything before it seems like it was leading to this point. Jazz drumming, bass drones float in and out of the mix before eventually finding a home.
For anyone intrigued by the electronica you could well find a valuable education here and should try the original to see its roots. Pedro’s work is suitably enhanced by the remixers here, who bring their own touch and acts as both a damn fine mini-album in its own right and as a decent advert for highlighting the cream of UK producers taking the risks necessary to produce such rich music.