“I’ve just spent an obscene amount on a laptop!” grumbles James Rutledge down the blower from London, his newly adopted home, in his irregular Derbyshire twang on the eve of his debut LP release. But it’s going to be money well spent. In the last four years his reputation has spread after two cracking EPs for Melodic plus another Pedro track, which appeared on the soundtrack of David McKenzie’s UK chiller, “The Last Great Wilderness” earlier this year. It’s no wonder that Melodic are keen to follow up his debut LP with an early works compilation in 2004. As much as he loosely fits the “folktronica” bill of pastoral emotions and childlike melodies, twisted by geographically disparate, laptop-packing producers, Rutledge has more to offer, much like his pal and fellow software manipulator, Kieran “Four Tet” Hebden, creating slow-burning masterpieces, sure to improve, rather than date, with age. “Pedro” bolsters futuristic hip-hop with classical and jazz flourishes, and adds splashes of 2-step and proto-electronics to the deepest post rock motifs. Idle comparisons to Boom Bip and DJ Shadow register fall short of fully defining his work.
Unlike his cinematic namesake in Alex Cox’s, “Highway Patrolman”, Pedro certainly has an interesting line in contradictions. While expressing a love for nature in music as in life, Pedro’s current base in the big smoke belies this. Indeed, the pace and speed of development in the capital gives him a kick in the rear as hard as the anticipation of his SONAR gig. Though dismayed by the cost of reputable live equipment, Pedro’s sense of quiet confidence is sure to permeate the ears and hearts of many in 2003.