New Artist Find: Redder
Hailing from Helsinki, Finland, the dynamic new artist Redder dabbles in a genre-melding mix of electronic, folk and trip-hop. It appears that Redder themselves even have a hard time defining their sound. Tags on their SoundCloud page range from “Ambient-acoustic” to “Audio-Noir” (I’ll admit that is a new one for me). The thing about it is, all of those labels accurately describe Redder.
A big thanks to unparalleled curator Duffster for bringing this category-defying act to our attention. Redder provides no shortage of engaging melodies layered over ambient, electronic backdrops and even some thoroughly good lyrics (a rarity, it seems, in most electronic music).
The first song I heard from Redder is also the namesake of their latest EP, Border/Lines. It’s a brooding, thoughtful track that takes full advantage of soothing vocals that are almost reminiscent of Chris Martin – I hope that’s not misconstrued as an insult. Backing the vocals is a loping, pleasantly disjointed ambient soundscape that occasionally sounds a bit like muted factory machinery.
This is “Border/Lines.”
The next track up from Redder was “Ghoul.” This song is sometimes heavy on the vocal modulation, sometimes big on light, clean melodies. There’s a lot going on in this song without it feeling like there’s a lot going on. It’s a beautiful mashup of styles that ends up working remarkably well.
I especially liked the echoing “bowowow” that starts around 1:00.
The third and final song I had the pleasure of sampling for this review was “Faster.” This is the track described as “audio-noir” and it’s a remarkably apt categorization. It moves slowly but steadily and cast a long, dark shadow. It’s ambient music meets John Alton. It’s all smoke and silhouettes.
It’s beautiful in an uneasy, dark kind of way.
Redder embraces many of the trends we’re seeing from new artists lately: darker themes, unconventional structures, eschewing the classic “climax.” It’s like these songs each have their own independent narrative; they lay out a murky tableau for the listener. It’s dark and it’s sometimes uncertain, but it’s damn entertaining music.