Boomkat Product Review:
Jamie Teasdale returns to his Kuedo project after a 7 year absence, following a series high-profile sound design and scoring work with a full-length of Vangelis-inspired orchestration and lavishly engineered airlock trap rhythms. Sonically it's somewhere between Emeralds, Rustie and Hudson Mohawke - not bad at all.
Teasdale's last proper Kuedo release was 2016's "Slow Knife", but he's had plenty to do in the interim. He teamed up with Flying Lotus in 2017 on a score for Cowboy Bebop director Shinichirō Watanabe's "Blade Runner: Black Out 2022", and fixed up sound design on adverts for Nike, Fendi and Bvlgari, among other projects. But now he's back to his usual beat, finding a connection point between glossy R&B/trap pop and "spacey synth driven music" for FlyLo's own Brainfeeder. The inspiration for the album came from rough sketches that Teasdale had been accumulating for years; he realized he could revisit the headspace his younger self had been languishing in and then fire the tracks into the present. "It felt like time-travelling," he admits. "I probably made some peace with that earlier version of myself too, for not having the confidence to finish it at the time."
It shouldn't come as a surprise that the record doesn't sound stylistically removed from 2011's milestone "Severant" (the album that saw Teasdale pull away from Vex'd's noisy vanguard dubstep sound) or its more muddled follow-up, but refines the form, bringing the Kuedo sound up to speed with his newfound engineering nous. From the euphoric opening moments of 'Sliding Through Our Fingers' it's clear that Teasedale is operating in high fidelity - he claims to have been influenced by Frank Ocean and The Weeknd as much as Tangerine Dream, Sully and Jlin, and these sounds definitely betray that notion. When brittle ATL-minded beats eventually poke through the vapor-lite synths, they're tweaked with a Hollywood-inspired sense of purpose - if this music was gonna soundtrack a videogame, it'd be a triple A sci-fi shooter.
The shell of "Severant" encases 'Harlequein Hallway', but that earlier material's tentative melancholy is replaced by a bolshy sense of wonder. Confident in his beatmaking and synth programming abilities, Teasdale makes sound that's loud, direct and forceful: bass beats as if it's likely to wrench itself out of yer speakers, and synths dance across frequencies like angry bees. His library-cum-kosmische inspirations are in full force on instrumental tracks like 'Paradise Water' or 'Aeolian Bodies', a chiming vignette that's a hauntological nod to Jean-Michel Jarre, but Teasdale sounds most satisfied when he's able to weld soaring, gut-wrenching harmonies and weepy arpeggios to rattling hi-hats and booming 808 kicks. Anyone searching for the missing link between Rustie's "Glass Swords" and Pye Corner Audio's "Black Mill Tapes", look no further.