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Album Review

It's been said time and time again that Darrell Fitton's music sounds like he's a disciple of Autechre, Boards of Canada, and Aphex Twin with a more knowledgeable ear for classical components than his obvious influences. And it is worth repeating, since that is the quickest and cleanest way to describe his music, including his third album, Gnayse. But quick and clean aren't always the most satisfying, and while this sort of drifting IDM, with its floating ambience that breaks into molten synth lava on occasion, sounded new and fresh several years ago, here it sounds a bit dated against the hyper-aware technicalities of glitch, or more significantly, the fusion of ultra-inventive experimental techno techniques with accessible genres from crunk to R&B, and on the hipper end, the resurgence of electro-pop as the best way to deliver that hot new DSP patch to the masses. Opener "Eluus" and closer "Effaninor" are perfectly well-executed machine music, with dripping, clanging, and pulsing notes that surround a sturdy midtempo beat. Basslines march in step along a path of glistening chords. Elsewhere, the rhythmic and melodic niceties are scarcer, with minimal tones operating against whispered beats and only the occasional flash of footstep drums and clearly defined note sequences in place. Problem is, you could drop that description into reviews of way too many records made before 2005. Sticking to your passion is admirable, but when the public's passion moves beyond the musicians, it is usually the musician who is left out of luck.


Genre: Electronic

Years Active:

Manchester's Bola is Darrell Fitton, whose 1995 debut 12-inch for Skam under that name helped shoot the now-collectible label to underground notoriety. Although the first of Fitton's released tracks appeared on the Warp label's Artificial Intelligence II compilation in 1995 and displayed the same style of chrome-dipped melodic techno adhered to by many Warp artists, his subsequent Bola material focused in on a heartier, less accessible aesthetic. His self-titled Skam EP combined vaguely funk-fueled...
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Gnayse, Bola
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