Kidepo, “Reds”

Jayson Greene

By Jayson Greene

on 05.20.14 in Listen to This

Kidepo is a 23-year-old singer and songwriter—Uganda-born, UK-raised, currently Brooklyn-based. His voice has a glowing, feline handsomeness to it, a husky quality that translates beautifully into the muted, minimal R&B he makes with it. A classically trained composer, Kidepo treats his voice, and all the elements on “Reds,” with painterly care. Watery-green synths provide the song’s only true pulse, though he allows some small drum hits to drip onto the song’s surface. Two or three other synths wander away from your ear at different distances in the mix, while Kidepo murmurs, heavy-lidded, in the middle. “How do I move you? What do I tell you? How do I show you so you understand?” The mood is slinky, but the elegance of the arrangement is bracing, like dipping your arms in freezing water. The synths take over the track, and Kidepo’s song slowly becomes one of them, lining up along the repeating waveform of the pulse and turning every sound in the song into a small landscape of overlapping undulant shapes.