Rudi Mikhail Zygadlo, named after two Russians dancers: Rudolph Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov, yet another of the Scottish-bred beat contingent, who have spent the last year and change convincing the seven Americans paying attention that Glasgow is far more than the sum of Belle & Sebastian, Franz Ferdinand, and cheap stereotypes involving Groundskeeper Willie and his retirement grease. Like Mike Slott, Hudson Mohawke, and Rustie, Zygadlo operates at the hazy intersection of hip-hop and dubstep, and despite the reductive simplifications they’ve engendered, like anything truly creative, their styles are singular.
Inspired by classical, church liturgies, opera, folk, Zappa, and early ’00s early hip-hop, Zygaldo’s music stands out from his peers for his eclecticism and deep devotion to song-craft, boasting well-constructed hooks, bridges, and breakdowns. Calling these “beats” does them a grave disservice, with their brain-frying synths, ruthless groove, and symphonic inclinations most closely resembling Guido and Nosaj Thing. Hearing Zygadlo on a Mary Anne Hobbs’ BBC1 mix for the first time, engendered a stop-whatever-it-is-that-you’re-doing epiphany, one that immediately made me want to know more about the man who will soon be eliciting a spate of bad “Rudi Can’t Fail” headlines. A Google search brought back little information other than mentioning that he used to play in an indie-rock group called The Velcro Quartet. Thus, this interview needed to happen. Zygaldo’s first full-length, Great Western Laymen, drops in April on Planet Mu.
All the music in the album Great Western Laymen was written, recorded and produced in his bedroom: "Its a banal setting but i guess it has become an atmospheric requisite for me to write, in the way that I do. My work desk faces the window which faces Great Western Road, referred to in the in album's title so there's an immediate connection there. From my window I can see two big churches which may also have helped me (immaculately) conceive the ecclesiastical themes inherent in the lyrics. But there were other reasons for that too."
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