[30 October 2006]
Context: six years ago, IDM enthusiasts were perplexed and intrigued by an ultra-limited 300-copy triple vinyl release on Skam (original home of Boards of Canada and Jega). Unmarked but for a simple shape on each record, the sought-after drifting/skittering tracks within were rumored to be the work of Manchester’s Bola, but this was never confirmed. Until now. Skam has reissued the album (with three bonus tracks) on CD for the first time and as a proper Bola release, perhaps as a prelude to his next full-length, due later this year. Content: you know the drill. Glassy, liquid synth lines percolate and drip below a flutter of percussive blips and effects. We’re familiar with the formula because it’s a formula that has worked time and again from Richard D. James on, and it holds up just fine now, if without thrills or surprises. But then, Bola has never seen quite the popularity of Manchester contemporaries like RDJ, Autechre, and Skam-mate BoC, and this is why. Competent, and at times outright beautiful, but never quite as exciting as its backstory.
Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/bola-shapes/