Wednesday, 23 June 2010
RECOMMENDED: George Fizgerald - The Let Down EP [Hotflush Two]
Over the last couple of years Hotflush’s little sister imprint Hotflush Two has been responsible for some of that community’s deeper and more experimental cuts. Sigha’s first two EPs operated with a defiantly minimalist agenda, and Pangaea’s jazzy ‘Mosaix’ is among the most opaque things he’s yet committed to tape, all tightly syncopated upright bass and mournful Berlin shimmer. But then again, it’s also home to Joy Orbison's 'Hyph Mngo’, so it’s hardly as if it’s totally neglected populism in favour of stranger treats. George Fitzgerald’s debut EP finds itself somewhere between those two poles; the humid synths of ‘The Let Down’ easily match that track’s dancefloor heft, but flipside ‘Weakness’ proves to be something else entirely.
It’s probably worth getting it out of the way early: Joy Orbison comparisons are going to flow thick and fast from many quarters keen to write Fitzgerald off as some kind of copyist. And the similarity is undoubtedly there - you’d have to have lived under a rock for the last eighteen months or so to miss it – but anything deeper than a cursory listen should suffice to highlight their differences in approach. It’s largely down to structure; both tracks on this EP show a more obvious garage influence, and Fitzgerald certainly knows his way around a bassline. Both these two tracks and others doing the rounds currently like ‘Don’t You’, are driven by huge, sinewy pulses of sub that solemnly refuse to engage with any other element of the music. Instead they brood darkly in the background like unshakeable monoliths, while at the top end diffuse strands of melody curl around two-step percussion.
Fantastic though the title track certainly is, B-side ‘Weakness’ is where the real heat’s at. Here Fitzgerald shows off in understated monochrome, crafting a roller that manages to strike a delicate balance between euphoria and crippling sadness. It shifts back and forth like mercury that’s escaped from a shattered thermometer, with a central melody so thin and evasive that each time you attempt to get a grasp it slips away like secondhand smoke. It’s certainly the equal of anything Orbison’s yet put out, and I’d argue that its subtler approach makes The Let Down an even more accomplished debut EP than 'Hyph Mngo' was last year.
Words: Rory Gibb