For well over a decade, singer songwriter Colonel Red has been releasing quality soul music that gazes into the future while keeping a foot in the past. A pioneer of the broken beat scene, Colonel Red has applied his rich, honeyed tones to a huge array of releases and, with his debut EP on Apollo Records, he provides three emotionally charged future soul classics.
Colonel Red’s career has been one lived in reverse: he began his journey courted by major labels and being flown out to the states before pulling away and starting afresh as an independent underground artist, with the freedom to produce his own work and pursue his own style and niche. Since then he’s collaborated with an enviable roster of artists from across the spectrum: including soul greats such as Anita Baker, Teddy Pendergrass and Keith Sweat as well as the cream of modern futurists such as IG culture and Ursula Rucker.
Here, standout track ‘Spaceface‘ sounds like D’Angelo produced by ‘Donuts’ era Dilla, and throughout it’s four and a half minutes of bumpy, driving funk Colonel Red illustrates exactly why he has such a revered status within the underground soul scene – the songwriting, production and vocal delivery are all from the top drawer. The term fizzing synths is overused and often inaccurate but here that’s exactly what they are, woozily oscillating and pushing the addictive funk into outer space.
‘Sleepers’ begins with a deep, laid back spoken word intro, sounding almost like a lost Tricky track, before a jazz bass riff, distorted guitar and gentle, spooked synth stab form the backdrop for the Colonel’s elastic, soul drenched vocal which culminates in the hooky repeated incantation of the chorus ‘Something got a hold of me’, a line which burns it’s way into the memory almost instantaneously.
Rounding off with the slower, sultry pace of ‘Soulridin’, Colonel Red once again shows off his vocal dexterity against a musical canvas that recalls both early Timberland productions and the disconcerting harmonic structure of Prince at his strangest, with synth strings sucked backwards providing an exotic, almost eerie tension.
Having recently released his third solo LP on Tokyo Dawn Records Colonel Red is one of those rare artists whose appeal crosses over into myriad different scenes, and with this outstanding release on Apollo, he is sure to advance that reach further still.
A Spaceface (co-produced by C.O.N.E.)
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