George FitzGerald – All That Must Be
There’s both something nostalgic and something future-facing about George FitzGerald’s productions. You can hear the British artist’s respect for the trailblazing DJs and producers of the 80s and 90s all through his work, but he’s unafraid to employ plenty of modern touches to ensure it sparkles when out alongside his peers.
You’ll probably know if All That Must Be is your kind of record by the end of track one, ‘Two Moons Under’. Swirling synths give way to a chopped up vocal, deep bass and 808 handclaps that cut through the whole, dense arrangement.
From there, it’s an undulating ride through different shades of electronic music that cover a relatively broad gamut of emotions. The retro-futuristic analog synth that peppers ‘Siren Calls’ will have you running to the dance floor, while the ethereal ‘Passing Trains’ will make you want to close your eyes and hurtle into space.
The beat that drops in after the huge build of ‘Siren Calls’ is well worth the wait, while the Bonobo collaboration ‘Outgrown’ has the distinct fingerprints of both artists all over it, thankfully they blend together to make something truly beautiful.
Much of FitzGerald’s best work has been in conjunction with vocalists. ‘Full Circle’, a highlight from his 2015 debut Fading Love, featured a great understated vocal from Boxed In, for instance. Likewise here, FitzGerald calls in a small handful of well-considered guests to add that human connection to his deep productions.
Lil Silva’s stunning falsetto is the perfect counterbalance to FitzGerald’s deep and dark production on ‘Roll Back’. Hudson Scott’s warped contribution to ‘Nobody But You’ makes for one of the weirdest love songs you’ll hear all year. While FitzGerald has the good sense to allow Tracey Thorn to be nothing but her brilliant self on ‘Half-Light (Night Version)’.
But it’s FitzGerald’s dark and expressive productions that make this such a captivating listen in the end. It’s brilliantly sequenced, ensuring the emotional peaks and troughs of the record are in all the right places. And so deftly produced that there’s not a moment where things feel too sparse or too overwrought.