Bola: Gnayse

Skam, 2004

simplicity cover

This is Bola’s third album, and it’s a return to the simplicity and drama of the first. While Fyuti had a funky edge, Gnayse is reminiscent of the slow-building classical-inspired compositions on Soup, which I initially dismissed as being too basic. This time around I’m more receptive to contemplative music, and this is one of those albums that’s bound to grow on the listener. There are beats. On “Eluus,” tickly electronic percussion seems to clash with slow chord-changes and synth sweeps. Although it’s a mere two-and-a-half minutes, “Heirairerr” is more straight-forwardly ambient, with pieces of brief melody over soft feedback. “Effanajor” does a better job incorporating speedy beats with plodding tones. Somehow the synths remind me of a church organ. Also interesting are the decay and reberb which give “Pfane PT1” a bell-like quality. Finally, “Papnwea”’s catchy distorted vocals, quirky syncopated beat, and simple melody make for the album’s stand-out track. Bola’s compositions here are reassuringly confident. He builds on early ’90s electronics without sounding retro. And the timing of this release couldn’t be more perfect—this is great background music for snowscapes and twinkling holiday lights.

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