Pedro - Early Pedro [Melodic / Lowlands - 2005]Since James Rutledge released his first album two years ago, folksy hiphop / electronica has gotten more and more popular. It’s now time to realise that under his Pedro moniker, he was one of the pioneers.
Early Pedro is a compilation of Rutledge’s long-unavailable first three ep’s. very nice to document the man’s musical history. His self-titled debut was mostly folk. Nice melodies on acoustic guitars, with a little bit of delicate electronic touches and some percussions here and there. Quite a mature work for someone who was 19 at the time.
The tracks off his second ep show a strong evolution: whilst the folk motifs are still there, the music is more grounded into hiphopish electronica than before. It all sounds a bit like Boom Bip’s debut album for Lex or as a mix between Hood and Boards of Canada.
The final three tracks are lifted off Rutledge’s collaboration with singer-songwriter Kathryn Williams. She has a very nice, natural voice that complements well the music.
Early Pedro is a very nice collection of songs of one of the precursor of the whole folktronica genre. The only problem with this CD is that it sounds a little bit dated: we have heard a lot of similar stuff over the past couple of years. Of course, it’s striking to think that it was recorded sometimes 4 years ago. A new Pedro album should come out this year, and it’s only then that we will be able to judge if he is still at the forefront of this nice and delicate genre.François Monti