From the moment of his first Hotflush release on, George FitzGerald has steadily grown to become one of the hallmarks of a strangely fertile, but undifferentiated area between humid dubstep and flexing house music, drenched in warm bass and euphoric diva vocals. And although his contemporaries chose radically different paths along the way, like shrapnels across the dance music spectrum, the Londoner has never truly abandoned his well thought-out, impeccably polite formula. This year’s Child EP however, perhaps shows signs of tectonic microshifts in FitzGerald’s stylistic focus, and Aus Music seem determined to back the release with a triplet of remixes in an interesting attempt to re-establish the author in the house arena.
Geeeman’s rework of Child starts off with a sprightly basement beat, coupled with stuttering, male diva cuts, feeding from a lively Chicago groove. Vocal snippets ascend and descend the scale in alienated dissonance, but they open much space for rhythmic experimentation, and during this process, syncopated, wasplike howls rush throughout the scenery, leaving an alarming, almost unpleasant resonance. The Dutch veteran gets another shot at this under his NY Stomp moniker, bringing the emotion much closer to the original, and ultimately improving it. Wrapped around a classic house chassis, stream of pumping kicks and stabs of sub-bass bubble beneath the staccato organs and melancholic confessions; sonic detail is really taken care of, as Gerd enriches the background with crackling and glittering chords, adding an almost vintage dimension to the song. But still, there’s a modern finesse to the gigantic reverb applied to the claps, and it definitely sounds like work of George FitzGerald – just manufactured by more efficient construction processes from enhanced raw materials.
Young Gerry Read reconfigures “Lights Out,” making the least recognizable use of the source material and turning the composition into something his very own. What seems to be a murky sketch of late-night foreboding at first suddenly evolves with a barrage of pummeling kicks and a saturated air raid of hi-hats. Bouncy, woodblock house beat and dusty, downtuned vocal samples, intertwined with reversed technoid bleeps, form an unusually intricate rhythmic pattern; a short-lived, hovering melody halfway through the track, which can’t quite puncture through the brute force of the mix, is barely a reminder of the mellow original. In fact, all of these remixes function very well as stand alones — each in its specific environment, without referencing the original. At the same time, they also represent a stern reminder of where FitzGerald could have gone, but chose not to, and an important signpost to where he could go in the future.