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bola - Shapes
Another week - another blow to the money-laundering toss pots over on eBay, as the latest 'impossible to find unless you're proper minted' gem finds its way onto our shelves. Originally released as a triple 12" package shortly after the release of Bola's first album 'Soup' in 1999, the 300 copies have since ebbed out of sight for all but the most ardent Skam head. Yet following a bout of remastering, 'Shapes' is getting a full-fat release - with Darrell Fitton even pitching in three bonus tracks (including two unreleased gems from the same period) for value-packed good measure. With the artificial intelligence influence clear from the off, this collection has more coherence than many "proper" album releases - as Fitton weaves filigree trails of electronics around the solar-flair atmospherics which always lie at the core of his work. Opening with 'Fonk (Flower)', the Bola sound is writ large - and all the better for it, with the melancholic sound that worked so well on 'Soup' imprinted throughout. Frayed with a disposition that drags real emotion from the austere digital environment, Bola has always excelled in bringing a natural and organic flavour to his music, with 'Shapes' no exception in its unfurling majesty. With highlights including the drafty tension of 'Forcasa2.2 (Oval)', 'Ballast (Triangle)' and its chittering beats, and the soapy atmospherics of 'Squib (Nuclear)', 'Shapes' is a geometry lesson worth attending.