Michael Red has been kicking around the Vancouver DJ scene for the better part of a decade, but I only became aware of his stuff late last year during some conversations with Gabriel Saloman about the project the two have together, Chambers (Digitalis debut hopefully coming this year!). Anyway, beyond a few snippets on soundcloud, I hadn’t heard any of Red’s solo wares until this digital-only EP appeared out of nowhere earlier this month. Low Indigo 001 is an eye-opener for sure.
During the past year, Vancouver has been a city that’s figured into a great number of music threads in my life. Mostly via SEEKERSINTERNATIONAL and the entire Transmolecular Compendium, but it stretches beyond that as well. Quietly (at least in the sense that places like Montreal get all the press) Vancouver is birthing some of the most vital, innovative, and perhaps most importantly interesting electronic music in North America. Look I’m obviously biased as hell when it comes to all things SKRS & related — I know this — but the scope of what that group of artists, not to mention the likes of Red, Saloman, No UFOs, & others are pushing and the sounds they’re creating is quite extraordinary. This EP is another important chapter in a story still unfolding.
Slow-moving grooves are the order of the day from the get go; this isn’t music you’re gonna find in most clubs (well, if I had my way you would but whatever) as everything here is darkly contemplative and evasive, like it’s trying to keep any kind of dancing and gallivanting at bay. From the opening whispers and mournful bass loops of opener “Top,” Low Indigo 001 starts off subdued, floating. It’s like being at a wake for someone that’s a stranger to you but was close to someone you love, so there’s an awkward disconnect between your ambivalence and the lamentations experienced by everyone else in the room. Red’s beats are cavernous, leaving plenty of room to breathe in the heavy atmosphere, to get swept away by outside forces. “Mwah” is speckled with disjointed synths, synapses firing and missing their destination so that once you reach the jilted-dub echoes of EP closer, “O,” everything feels slightly off. That’s usually the point where I play the EP again because something about it is infectious; it’s uncomfortably addictive. As the first release on Red’s new obviously-named Low Indigo label, the promise and potential it shows are endless.
Low Indigo 001 is available as a pay-what-you-want download (you can pay nothing if you choose, but I’d recommend throwing him a few bucks at the very least – it’s well worth it). Big recommendation. GET IT.