George FitzGerald "Fernweh" b/w "Hearts"
For the first release from his own Man Make Music imprint, George FitzGerald has put together two new tracks of absolutely pristine bass music. Equal parts futuristic house and rolling 2-step (with a touch of Detroit-influenced techno), "Fernweh" b/w "Hearts" finds a unique place amongst the many splintered fragments of the UK scene, continuing the Londoner's reputation as one of the most consistent—albeit not the most prolific—producers to currently hail from his city's teeming talent pool.
The greater appeal of FitzGerald's work is not necessarily in the elements which make up his hybrid concoctions, but rather the soulfulness he somehow brings forth from the seemingly cold pieces which comprise the tracks (e.g. the inhumanly perfect percussion, minimal sheen, and machine-precise programming). "Fernweh" is the most obvious example of this, using elongated, dramatic chords and beautifully re-pitched vocal snippets to give the whole affair a captivating, but not overpowering, R&B undercurrent. Careful building and changing of drum patterns supply a bit of tension while the track patiently moves from one section to the next (with no less than two perfectly executed breakdowns), allowing "Fernweh" to slowly develop its two-chord theme into a full eight-plus minute endeavor. B-side "Hearts" takes a much different path to yield similar results, this time focusing the attention on the percussive elements, which, although obviously adhering to a rather strict grid, nonetheless bring an immensely tribal vibe to the procession. In fact, the focus is so much so on the tune's rhythms that a decent number of bars are solely dedicated to showcasing the bouncing kicks, claps, hats, shakers, and bells that drive "Hearts." By the time FitzGerald slyly drops a half-time snare into the mix, it's a safe bet that dancefloors and head-nodding bass music fiends alike will be powerless to resist. Let's hope founding his own imprint will ensure many more forthcoming releases of the same quality, and if we're lucky, maybe even with a little more frequency.
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