A Sheffield born electronic producer who’s now based in Barcelona, Fitzroy North has been releasing electro / skweee-centred tracks since 2010, but to date his solo releases have been fairly thin on the ground, with this download-only EP ‘Animate’ on Montreal label Ancient Robot offering up his fourth record in total.
On the four new tracks collected here, he’s set the controls for the sorts of classic electro influences typified by the likes of Mantronik and Cybotron, but rather than simply opting for the usual eighties day-glo tropes, there’s a distinct undercurrent of tension running beneath his productions. Opening title track ‘Animate’ locks straight down into tumbling melodic sequences and zapping electro breakers’ rhythms, before processed robo-vox arrive to heighten the sense of jittery funk, the icy ‘Trans Europe Express’ synths that drop themselves like fog over the sheeny rhythmic undercarriage making the equation complete.
In many senses it’s the crystal-clear attention to production detail that really impresses here – while the familiar tools of the trade such as 808s and DMXs are all in evidence here, there’s a gorgeous level of sparkle to everything. ‘Hey, Girlfriend’ gets tougher and moodier as punching electro snares trace a path beneath Prince-esque synth vamps and buzzing robotic vocals, before squiggling acid lines burst out of the woodwork in what’s one of the more New Wave pop-centred offerings here, as the background synths build up into a spectacular layered crescendo towards the end.
Elsewhere, ‘Superflat’ ventures off in a more contemporary direction as sparse woodblock rhythms creep against growling analogue bass and flickering cut-up vocal samples, before the rhythms accelerate into a bouncing electro groove, before ‘Swimming Pool’ closes this EP off with a venture down into crunked-out electro / hiphop that’s far closer to the EDM likes of Skrillex and Diplo as smeared-out synth trails and Auto-tuned vocals warp themselves around rattling trap snare rolls. A consistently tasty EP that’s well worth seeking out.