Release Date: Apr 28, 2015
Record label: Domino
Genre(s): Electronic, House, Garage, Club/Dance, Dubstep, 2-Step/British Garage
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.
The fading love of George FitzGerald’s debut is as much for the club scene that nurtured him as for the girlfriend he was splitting up with at the time. Disillusioned with the remorseless euphoria of computer-made EDM, he turned to analogue instruments and drew on the influence of more emotionally nuanced ravers such as Leftfield and Underworld to reflect his mood. The result is an intimate and beautifully textured record that is free of club bangers.
A quiet figure on the periphery of this generation of British electronic music, George FitzGerald has spent the last half-decade carving out a space for himself with a series of increasingly refined EPs, singles, and remixes. If you want to think of that space in purely geographic terms, it's somewhere between the pop-friendly house and garage of his native London and the patient, muted techno of his adopted home, Berlin. You can also think of it as music with one foot in the club and another in the aisles of your local fast fashion emporium, living in that liminal realm between body music and headphones-oriented composition.
Among all the different compartments and subgenres of electronic dance music, is there one called emo-house? If not, than George FitzGerald has inadvertently invented it. The British producer’s debut album, Fading Love, is full of the steady rhythms and clean, melodic synthesizer lines that are typical of tech house. But it also has a raw, earnest emotional impact that sets FitzGerald apart from most of his peers.
U. K. -born, Berlin-based DJ/producer George FitzGerald made a name for himself in the early 2010s, around the time the British dubstep/garage scene began moving away from half-time dub rhythms and quaking sub-bass, and more toward the influence of classic house and garage, often being labeled as "post-dubstep" or "future garage.
It should come as no surprise that George FitzGerald went through a stylistic transformation on his first full-length. Since emerging in 2010 with a 12-inch of hybridized dubstep for Hotflush, the Berlin-based Londoner hasn't been much interested in carving out just one sound for himself. His records jump between bass-centric strains of house and techno—from the sample-heavy UK garage of "Shackled" to techy, big-room anthems like "Child" and "I Can Tell (By The Way You Move)"—but always with a few recognizable traits, such as downcast melodies, radiant pads and vocal textures.
It was a strange moment when George FitzGerald signed to mega-indie label Domino. His productions, mainly on Hotflush, were cool, tightly executed tech/house/bass hybrids, but hardly marked him out as the sort of non-conformist who would sit well at the home of one-offs like Hot Chip and Dan Deacon. That was two years ago, though, and in the interim he seems to have discovered hidden depths.
It’s five years since George Fitzgerald released his first single “The Let Down” on Hotflush Recordings. It might have either been the track’s nervous shuffle or the label association, but Fitzgerald was instantly likened to Joy Orbison (also of Hotflush) and heralded as part of the vanguard of producers at the business end of what was unfortunate enough to be termed ‘post-dubstep’. He’s been opening up new frontiers for himself ever since, with the Shackled, Silhouette, Child and then Needs You EPs across 2011 and 2012 racing through amalgamations of UK garage, sparse bass music, house, and most recently the breathless techno of “Needs You”.
Over the past five years, George FitzGerald has found success playing an amalgam of techno, house and 2-step to big-room audiences across Europe. Like so many producer/DJs before him, the Berlin-based Brit now finds jacking club tracks insufficiently expressive and has gone the overtly emotional pop route on his debut full-length to flesh out the melancholy often prevalent in his mixes. Very clearly a breakup album, Fading Love is his chance to establish a singular voice, and yet to some extent he just leaves one club for another - albeit a more interesting one: the one for sad New Romantics like New Order and Hot Chip.