Joy Orbison's "Hyph Mngo" seemed to set off a collective hunger for bright, garage-inflected bass music; if the heady days of 2006 were all about dub and dread, 2010 is all about neon riffs, ecstatic percussion and clipped vocal samples. George Fitzgerald is another much-hyped producer in this lineage, an associate of Joy Orbison, and is finally releasing his debut single for Hotflush. But instead of blowing the roof off, Fitzgerald is content to simply cop his colleagues' styles without adding anything new.
Titles don't come much more self-explanatory than The Let Down: It's not that the music is necessarily below par, but it's hard to find anything that sets it apart from legions of similar tracks. At the least, "The Let Down" lets us down gently—the way it slowly rouses to life on pulsing keys, skittering drums and vocal gasps is nothing if not pleasant, but when it finally hits its stride it sounds like a muted "Hyph Mngo." The same progression, same feeling, same everything. Its vaguely mystical, fluttering breakdown is intriguing, but the track locks back into its sleepy main section too soon for it to make a proper impact.
On the flipside, "Weakness" doesn't fare much better, working in a similar pattern: building up from hushed tones into a complacent groove, it meanders and relies on superficially pretty sounds to make its unremarkable amble more interesting. There's no denying that George Fitzgerald is a competent producer, but his debut release doesn't go much further than that. Solid tools presented with little flair. In a musical world where these sort of tracks seem to exist in an unfathomable multitude, that's simply not enough.
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Tracklist: George Fitzgerald - The Let Down A The Let Down