“Overflow” marks the first official release of Rondo Mo, the pseudonym of South-Londoner Robbie Redway. With his distinctive blend of dark, soulful electronica, this is unmistakably the sound of a promising new artist. The vocalist, producer and instrumentalist excels in creating a mood that can appeal to both dance lovers and a more indie audience, with even a nod to a darker R&B form. Reminiscent of acts such as Caribou, LCD Soundsystem and Bob Moses, this style of connecting electronic and acoustic sensibilities is having somewhat of a renaissance period and Rondo Mo reveals himself to be a very welcome addition to the fold. He manages to channel the sound, rather than imitate, and completely envelopes the listener in his world of shadowy synths and melodies.
The track begins with a deep bass pulse heard far in the distance, before Redway’s voice creates a light for the listener to use to navigate. The sultry vocals and growing instrumentals build on a track that begins in darkness, while maintaining a sense of danger with lyrics of going in “way above my head”. The spacious washes and lone piano keys add a level of anticipation before the listener is hit with the beat. “Overflow” offers an eclectic mixture of sounds throughout, juxtaposing a darker subject matter with a groovy bassline and snaps. There are also moments where Redway’s driven production is punctuated with more emotive breakdowns, the airy textures giving space for the vocals to take control, and the track ultimately ending with the appropriate emotional climax.
The story of Rondo Mo begins in Cornwall rather than his native London. After a wide range of collaborative work, from releasing an album with house don Midland to touring as a session member of alt-folk band To Kill A King, Redway found himself in a ‘stylistic bewilderment’ and took to the reclusive Bodmin Moor in Cornwall. Setting up in a remote barn, with no human contact and only the bleak moorland landscape for company for six weeks, he began working to reign in on a sound influenced by the limited vinyl collection he brought with him. Redway integrated the best elements of seventies’ soul and contemporary house music with a more cyncial vibe of eighties electronica, culminating in a sound delicately positioned between a confident dance sound and a moody underlay of indie music. “Overflow” is a striking introduction to Rondo Mo, and a piece of music that affirms the intrigue surrounding this artist.