Red Ninja is the latest project from multi-instrumentalist Brian Nelson. A graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Nelson found his musical voice within the reggae and world music genres through studies with percussionist Jamey Haddad (Paul Simon) as well as via his role as an original member of Boston-based rock reggae outfit Spiritual Rez. Red Ninja finds Nelson taking on a more electronic approach to song writing, with an emphasis on live dub production, synth-based soundscapes, and memorable melodies combining to define his distinct brand of electronic reggae music.
“I think that is what gets me most excited about the sub-genre of Loop-based dub that Red Ninja is part of… it’s all within the producer’s control. His/her individual actions determine the outcome in real time. The artist is the pilot, the music is the plane.”-Seth Herman, founder of Rootfire
“Happy, almost Michael Franti-like vocal work, mix with subdued reggae influences and island vibes on the album resulting in a conscious spirit over an incredibly danceable beat.” -Marquee Magazine on Posidub
The journey that lead to Red Ninja started more than a decade ago in the heart of Boston. In between runs with Spiritual Rez sharing the stage with the likes of Culture, Gregory Isaacs, Israel Vibration, and Jimmy Buffett, a new side project emerged among the Berklee music scene pioneered by Nelson and fellow Rez bandmates called Ninjastar. The idea was improvised sets and instrument swapping, all to the backdrop of 70’s era Kung Fu films. The weekly event came to feature many talented musician, including now members of acts like Odesza, John Brown’s Body, and Dopapod. Ninjastar was an underground Boston hit during its short but sweet presence on the music scene.
Nelson could never quite shake the magic of dubby beats and Kung Fu films. Moving to Colorado in 2013, Nelson’s main artistic focus became Red Ninja, a solo project involving the live looping of dub inspired music and the projection of Kung Fu films. The project found its first voice take shape with the debut EP Politicians Should Dress Like Race Car Drivers, Then We’d Know Who Their Corporate Sponsors Are! released in 2015. The live sound began to develop and before long Nelson knew it was time to make a serious musical offering. Posidub is the result of two five day blackout sessions at 9B Studio in Milford, MA. Working with engineer/producer Toft Willingham, the magic was undeniable as the hours gave way to producing the debut full-length. The finishing touches were laid on by mix guru Matthew Saccuccimorano at Scaramanga Industries. Posidub was released in July of 2016.
2017 sees Red Ninja turning focus to the live show. February featured shared bills with Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad and Na’an Stop at the Fox Theatre in Boulder and Aggie Theatre in Ft. Collins, CO. February also saw Red Ninja appear on KGNU’s Dub Palace, a staple of the late night Colorado radio scene.
Venues played by Red Ninja include Cervante’s Other Side, Denver, CO; Larimer Lounge, Denver, CO; The Fox Theatre, Boulder, CO; The Lazy Dog, Boulder, CO; Owsley’s Golden Road, Boulder, CO; Aggie Theatre, Ft. Collins, CO; The Downtown Artery, Ft. Collins, CO; Justice Snows, Aspen, COBook Red Ninja!
July 2016 marked the release of Red Ninja’s debut album Posidub. Working with recording engineer and producer Toft Willingham (Spiritual Rez) and mixing engineer Matthew Saccuccimorano (John Brown’s Body, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad) this debut full-length ventures in to a new sub-genre of uplifting, listener accessible loop-based dub reggae music: Posidub.
Check the Red Ninja Facebook page for updates on the album, tour dates, and more.
Interested in booking Red Ninja? Have some awesome feedback you want to leave? Fill out the contact section below and we’ll get back to you ASAP. Contact forms not your thing? Email Red Ninja direct at brian[at]redninjadub[dot]com.