I’ve always been on the fence about Bola. When Soup came out in 1998, I wrote a rather negative review (which apparently got lost in one of several site purgings) and promptly sold my copy. (I see now that someone on Discogs is attempting to sell an original edition CD for €55.00!) While I like Shapes’ old-school feel, I described Gnayse as holiday “background music.” I can’t help feeling that Darrell Fitton occasionally serves listeners a bowl of boring.
On first listen, Kroungrine is pleasant enough. It’s all very well-produced. “Zoft Broiled Ed” opens with cheerily distressed IDM beats and a rollicking bassline. It breaks down half-way through with faux guitar licks, but somehow the sounds don’t really gel, and a true melody remains elusive. “Noop” uses a wonderfully chunky hip-hop beat, but again it doesn’t really go anywhere. I really like the chord progressions on both “Waknuts” and “Halyloola,” but they just repeat until termination. “Urenforpuren” is the only track that really speaks to me. A nice little tune emerges amid purring bass, and even though it repeats a bit too long, towards the end some other bits of sound interact with it. The last track isn’t bad either. “Diamortem” is fifteen minutes of varied, pretty ambience. Perhaps this is the direction Bola should be going—he seems better at crafting sound than structure.
A lot of artists design their compositions for delayed gratification, but the Bola philosophy must be lack of gratification. While some of these tracks have nice moments, most are just build-up. As a result, much of this album feels surprisingly empty, especially on repeated listens.