Most producers, at least those with any kind of artistic curiosity or ambition, go through an evolutionary process as their careers advance; their discographies can be read almost as a biography, with each set of releases signalling a shift, minor or major, in their circumstances, their methodologies, and their aims. But there aren't many who have navigated their progression as gracefully as the British producer George FitzGerald. He's transitioned smoothly between stripped-down, bass-meets-techno material and catchy, synapse-tingling house—and he's excelled at both, with a far-away, yearning vibe serving as the common denominator. And now comes the latest chapter in FitzGerald's story, debut album Fading Love—and its another step forward for the producer, a romantic and lush collection of wistful tunes that sacrifice a tiny bit of clubland essence in the service of depth, emotion and maturity.
That's not a surprise, really. FitzGerald has said in interviews that Fading Love is a break-up album (accounting for its overall vibe of melancholy), and that the album also reflects the fact that he's been "losing interest in the club environment to some degree." Many of its songs sidle up to the edge of the dancefloor but never quite step onto it, opting for reflection rather than abandon. Sure, lead single "Full Circle," featuring Boxed In's Oli Bayston on vocals, features a hefty, mid-tempo kick drum—but its beautiful, minor-key chord pattern and end-of-the-line lyrics are what gets noticed here. Another of the record's vocal cuts, "The Waiting" (this one with Lawrence Hart on the mike) hews closer to dirge than dance music—though with its rich synth swells and gentle throbs, its a particularly gorgeous dirge. "Knife to the Heart" is another beauty, its main melody line played by what sounds like a lightly distorted marimba, with delicate piano chords providing punctuation; "Crystallise," with lyrics like "Around my heart, a clear divide/When all that's left, we crystallize" and its swirling arpeggios, could be thought of as a dispairing, end-of-a-relationship answer to "I Feel Love." Dance to it if you must, but enjoy Fading Love for what it is—a lovely, heartfelt set of tunes from a still-evolving composer and producer.