Four tracks into the debut Pedro album – a curious yet always-engaging mix of electronica, classical and jazz references and the odd hip-hop drum loop – there’s a track called "These pixels weave a person." Its skittering beat and eerie organ sound are suggestive of Radiohead’s more esoteric, post-OK Computer work, but there’s no need for the humanizing voice of a Thom Yorke. The title says it all: this is electronic music with a very human heart.
And if all this sounds a little familiar – folktronica has surely found its gateway record in Four Tet’s Rounds – then Pedro’s eponymous album is the more diverse record that people might investigate after discovering Kieran Hebden’s masterpiece. Pedro, or James Rutledge, is mindful though of being the first ‘post-Four Tet’ act.
“The dreaded ‘folktronica’ tag!” he screams. “I write as well, so I know you need to bracket things together sometimes. But I find it really odd when you find people who have blinkers on about what they listen to. Even a really bad trance record on Top of the Pops I can enjoy – I don’t think I’d ever do a straight ahead trance track but I might like to incorporate some of the ideas from it. I hate distinctions between music.”

And that much is obvious. He’s a member of DOT, too: a band on Twisted Nerve that have more of a guitar ethic but use Rutledge’s computer trickery to stunning effect. “With DOT, I wanted to play in a group that has songs with words rather than abstract beats. But in a band you can never really do what you want.”
Compromise – or perhaps a refusal to do so – characterizes all of Rutledge’s work. Like Four Tet, his record is entirely instrumental and despite an incredible side project with rising folker Kathryn Williams, he’s not about to use vocals to gain acclaim. It’s all about the music.
“Sometimes people get to a certain point and seem to think it’s not a proper record unless it has vocalists on. That’s rubbish. I’ve go a string of people in my head who I’d like to do stuff with but it has to be at the right time; not just for the sake of doing it.”


Mush Records