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Our first year on Cambridge Heath Road has come to an end, so it feels like an opportune moment to reminisce. We’ve picked a few of our favourite memories from the past 12 months to put in this digital scrapbook. Heartfelt thanks to all the musicians that have graced our stage, to all the promoters that made it happen, and most of all to the thousands of music lovers that have danced the night away with us under the railway tracks.
Ambush Buzzworl Performing ‘Jumpy’
Undoubtedly one of the biggest tracks from last Summer, ‘Jumpy’ was Ambush Buzzworl’s breakthrough hit. The vibe was intense as he took to the stage and the crowd sang along to the chorus: ‘I don’t wanna crash this rental…’
The Magical Realism of Ashes57
We commissioned our friend Ashes 57 to create this illustration, which captures the street setting and spirit of Redon in her instantly recognisable style.
Basement Jaxx – Secret Gig
We’re not taking the credit for this one – it just kinda happened! Some cool dudes had a joint 50th birthday party with 200 of their closest friends, and one of the greatest acts in the history of UK house music jumped on the decks.
Cal Jader – EL Hombre
Cal is London’s No. 1 plug for Latino music and culture. His deep knowledge of latin music spans from classic to bleeding edge contemporary, and he’s one of our favourite promoters to work with.
Cal’s parties are always on point so its hard to pick a favourite, but the recent ‘Shika Shika’ label showcase was pretty special. Wavey, organic, slow mo techno of the highest order.
Di Melo’s 1st Ever European Show
The Brazilian funk legend Di Melo had never appeared in Europe until, at the age of 69, he decided to pay us a visit. The show was outstanding from start to finish, but the most heartwarming moment came when he invited his young daughter on stage to sing a duet.
Dizraeli Introduces His New Live Band
The gig itself was a triumphant debut for Dizraeli and his new band, but the real magic happened the week before the show during rehearsals. The creative process was a joy to behold as Dizraeli’s new record Unmaster was reimagined into a live performance.
Dur Dur Band take us on a trip to 1980’s Mogadishu
Dur Dur band are just so damn funky! This was our first gig that sold out in advance, which felt like a major milestone for Redon. Fitting 11 musicians on our little stage was tricky, but we managed it somehow.
Georgia’s Triumphant Homecoming
Georgia’s barnstorming gig last month is still fresh in the memory. This is shaping up to be her breakthrough year, with tracks like ‘About Work The Dancefloor’ getting heavy rotation on national radio. Stardom beckons, so it was the perfect time to see her perform in an intimate venue.
Koder – Getting Richer Launch Party
The sea of smiling faces says it all – Koder’s Getting Richer launch party was off the chain. During the gig Koder played several versions of the title track, breaking it down in creative and unexpected ways.
Ms Nina Brings The Reggaeton Heat
Ms Nina is a leading figure in the new wave of Reggaeton, far removed from the macho posturing and objectification of women that used to characterise the genre. She is a total badass from head to toe (and her instagram feed is highly entertaining.)
Witness the scenes of pure joy as she takes to the stage on the stroke of midnight!
Pouya Ehsaei – The Modular Maestro
The weekly series of Parasang shows was an incredible feat of creative stamina by the charismatic Iranian composer Pouya Ehsaei. Each week, Pouya worked with a new ensemble of musicians, entwining modular synth elements with live instruments and vocalists. Whether performing with grime MC Trim, or getting jazzy with Ezra Collective’s James Mollison, Pouya’s beats and bleeps were perfectly attuned to that musical style.
The weekly series has now come to an end, but thankfully Pouya still performs with Parasang at least once a month.
APE Afterparty with 1-800 Dinosaur
James Blake and his crew on the decks, an absurdly cool and beautiful crowd, Kamasi Washington showing off some fly moves on the dancefloor. Did that really happen or was it all a dream ?
The Footwork Flair of DJ Taye
Beat maker, DJ, MC, dancer; Taye is a multi-talented footwork ambassador. He touched down at Redon last September to record a mix for Red Bull Radio.
Nao performs at the Gal Dem launch party
Gal Dem Magazine threw a spectacular launch party to celebrate the release of the Secrets Issue. The highlight of the evening was a surprise appearance by Nao; her lyricism and spellbinding vocal talent sent the crowd into rapture.
Parasang is a collaborative project devised by Pouya Ehsaei (Ariwo) and Harry Follett (Manana Records) We caught up with Pouya to discuss the concept and creative process behind Parasang.
Can you explain the concept behind Parasang?
Harry and I wanted to create a space in which different genres of music could co-exist together. London is the most culturally diverse city that I’ve seen, so was the best place to launch Parasang. There are strong and vibrant communities all around London that have brought their culture, music, cuisine and ideology to London over the course of 19th and 20th century. The level of their integration with society is debatable but so is the level of commitment by authorities and individuals here. After all, It is much easier to mingle with people you know and understand.
We wanted to challenge ourselves by pushing ourselves to dig deeper to find new musicians from across London, rather than working with people already on our radar who we felt comfortable with. After fifteen Parasang shows at Redon we could not be happier with the range and quality of great musicians we’ve worked with from across the cities varied cultural and musical backgrounds – we know we’ve barely scratched the surface of the potential that London has to offer. We’ve worked with Brazilian, Jamaican, Moroccan, Cuban, Ghanaian, Ethiopian, Kurdish musicians from Turkey and Iraq alongside great musicians from the UK. We were surprised every night by how these musicians react to the possibilities of improvising within an electronic music structure – led by myself on modular synthesiser and other outboard gear.
Another reason for creating Parasang was to create a space for music enthusiasts to indulge themselves in sounds and ideas far away from the usual hype. The Thursday shows were intended to help people disconnect from their week and reconnect with themselves and the city by being surprised and challenged by the musicians involved.
Can you talk me through your modular synth setup?
For the Parasang shows I use 5 oscillators, 4 filters, 10 envelopes, two sequencers, quantizer, 10 vca, 12 lfos, 4 random generators and some attenuators and precision adders.
Everything goes to a Midas analogue mixer and goes out to a range of effect pedals. I use the Octatrack for triggering the emodular and playing simple hats, snare and vocals chops.
I caught your gig with Ariwo at Oval Space, which was amazing! Do you have any more upcoming shows or releases?
Thanks, that was a great gig. I love Oval Space. Yes, Ariwo’s second studio album “Quasi” is coming out 17th of May. We wanted to experiment with other instruments and musicians and make an all around album that investigates the possibilities of electronic dance music merging with afro-cuban rhythms and Jazz melodies. The album features guest appearances from MOBO winning saxophonist Binker Golding (Binker & Moses) and acclaimed UK keys player Joe-Armon Jones (keys). Cuban trumpet players Thommy Lowry Garcia and Yelfris Valdes also feature on the album, bringing carnival melodies that interweave through the percussion and electronics. We’re going on a UK tour in May starting with London at Giant Steps. Can’t wait.
Looking back over the first 15 shows, are there any particular nights that have stood out for you?
I’m just going to keep it simple and say the 1st one with Temesgen Zeleke (Ethiopia), Kevin Davy and James Mollison (Ezra collective). The music and atmosphere was incredible and this is when we realized it was something special we were doing and something that was missing in London.
What’s next for Parasang?
There is a lot of musicians from around the world that we had in mind but could not include in the first 15 shows. A lot of great musicians contacted us and wanted to play as well. There is a lot more to explore!
Also, Parasang will be on the road soon. We’re trying to take over festivals and see how musicians already booked to play at festivals can join in as part of a Parasang session. First one will be at Brainchild festival, which we are very excited about.
We love having you here at Redon! Long may it continue…
Parasang was not possible without the generosity and openness of Paddy and everyone else from Redon. I cannot imagine a more comfortable and open space for Parasang. All of you have been great.
We are beyond excited to host Planes and Perverts, a LGSM fundraiser taking place on Saturday, 16th February. Inspired by the historically significant Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners movement of the 1980’s, LGSM express solidarity with migrants in UK and campaign against deportation and discrimination.
Back in 2017, LGSM were part of an action that saw 15 people ground a deportation charter flight to prevent it from taking off. The activists responsible for this non-violent direct action have been charged with terrorism-related offences that could result in life imprisonment. All proceeds from Planes and Perverts will raise money to help cover their expenses.
Parasang is a weekly night of live improvisation led by Iranian sound artist, Pouya Ehsaei (Ariwo / Entr’acte / Zabte Sote) and curated by MANANA Records founder Harry Follett. Each show is a one-off collaboration exploring the diversity of the city’s musical communities through electronic music.
Past guests at Parasang include Ethiopian krar player Temesgen Zeleke, Afro-Cuban percussionists Hammadi Valdes and Oreste Noda, Moroccan lute player Boujemaa Bouboul, Jazz pianist Sarah Tandy, trumpeter Kevin Davy, James Mollison from Ezra Collective, Tim Doyle (Maisha/Cykada), dancehall/reggae drummer Marley Drummond and bassist Andrew Mclean.
Parasang takes place at Redon every Thursday evening. Head over to the events page for line up info and free entry guest list.
Recent visitors to Redon will have marvelled at the stunning new art installations both inside and outside the venue. We invited Ashes57 to create a site-specific design, with our railway arch in the foreground, and the city rising up high behind it. This design is now proudly displayed in our front window, and you can order the Ashes57 x Redon signed screen print here.
The artwork of Ashes57 will be familiar to many music lovers already – her illustrations and graphic design have adorned countless record sleeves, posters and flyers over the years. As the label manager of Teklife Records, Ashes57 is a key figure in the Footwork scene, and much like our namesake Odilon Redon, her artwork is inspired by the music she loves.