Fabric have an incredible looking Friday night coming up soon, and we have a pair of tickets to give away to it, as well as Fabric mix CDs from Pearson Sound and Ben UFO.
London clubbing institution Fabric will be celebrating its 13th Birthday this October, and we have a pair of tickets to the huge celebration weekend to give away.
Oneman, the Rinse FM DJ who retains a towering presence in UK electronic music circles, will mix the 64th instalment in the Fabriclive series.
Pinch, otherwise known as Rob Ellis, occupies a position within the history of dubstep that has been oft recounted. After watching Kode9 DJing at FWD>> at London’s Plastic People in 2003, he returned to his hometown of Bristol with the desire to start a night that would capture some of the essence of FWD>>, resulting in the inception of Subloaded, the dubstep night that arguably made his name as a DJ and made a mark on Bristol’s musical psyche that still resonates today.
Despite his residency at London’s Plastic People, his championing of the current crop of young UK bass artists, and an obvious love for good dance music of all types, Four Tet (aka Kieran Hebden) isn’t really known for being a DJ. It’s probably fair to say that general conception of Four Tet’s sound stems from his Rounds era productions, but his career trajectory over the last few years has seen has material become gradually more dancefloor friendly, and anyone who has had the fortune to see him DJ will know that he just gets it. His Fabriclive mix is arguably up there with the most interesting in the series, and it’s clearly a statement of artistic intent from Hebden in the way that previous mixes certainly haven’t been.
The mix takes a strongly conceptual approach; moving between Fabric’s “rooms”, each half of the mix is joined by field recordings of the club itself. However, the mix’s joy lies not in its approach, but the sheer quality of the tracklisting. Anyone who has seen Hebden DJ will probably know that he has a love for UK garage, (that he has been known to unironically play the Shanks & Bigfoot hit “Sweet Like Chocolate” at Plastic People is proof of this) and garage makes up the majority of the mix. But there’s no dayglo chart hits here: instead the first half of the mix is devoted to dusty underground UK garage tunes lost in a pre-YouTube black hole.
There’s no real lead in as such, aside from the electro-acoustic tones of Michel Redolfi’s “Immersion Partielle”, and the mix begins in earnest with garage, and Crazy Bald Heads’ “First Born”. Surprisingly for a man whose productions are so steeped in melody, the first half is monochrome; even the inclusions from contemporaries Floating Points and Caribou, usually known for their own colourful excesses, are distinctly bass driven. In this sense the mix owes as much to techno as it does garage; the basslines are kept simple, beats are often clipped and glitchy, especially on KH’s “101112” and Genius’s “Waiting”, and offers a fascinating insight into the obvious influence of techno in early garage music.
The second half of the mix sees techno come to the fore, with selections from WK7, C++ and Ricardo Villalobos keeping things distinctly straighter. But the centrepiece to this section is undoubtedly Hebden’s own “Pyramid”, a straight up techno track which is possibly one of his most balanced productions to date. It also functions as a microcosm of the mix as a whole; being primarily steeped in murky bass tones, it mangles and clips its vocals in a similar fashion to the rest of the mix, whilst offering only a hint of melody – it’s undeniably one of the mix’s most exhilarating moments, and its scale perhaps conveys better than anything else on the mix the feeling of being in Fabric’s room one. Finishing with another Hebden original, “Locked”, it offers a particularly effective end to the mix; its melancholy, sun-drenched tones capturing the moment of stepping out into the unexpected light of a Farringdon dawn.
This mix has come at just the right time – the revival and re-appraisal of older UK garage sounds among younger producers has never been so popular, but its dark, mature tone shows that there’s more to this sound than saccharine vocals and neon synths. More importantly however, there’s no fetishisation of the music; quite simply Hebden has lived it, and it’s a mix that offers a love letter to his most treasured memories and influences.
In this day and age, it’s very rare for a DJ to achieve international success solely on the basis of his DJ skills. Thanks to promoters’ general reticence to book acts unless they’ve got a solid body of production work behind them – or at least one record to their name that punters may have heard of – plenty of brilliant DJs fail to break out of their home cities. For the art of DJing – an entirely separate skill from being able to knock a decent tune together – this has been one of the most depressing developments of recent times.
For those who still believe in DJing as a craft, the recent runaway success of Glaswegian party-starter Jack Revill is worthy of celebration. While much of his fame originally stemmed from his association with Glasgow’s hyped Numbers night and hot properties Rustie and Hudson Mohawke, his blossoming worldwide reputation has sprung from his immense qualities as a DJ; and, more specifically, an insatiable desire to rock a party hard.
Without a production career to fall back on, Revill – under his now familiar Jackmaster guise – has achieved almost cult status through his DJing exploits. To do that requires not just technical skills, but a keen ear for a tune and an ability to deliver when it matters. And in the case of a DJ, that’s pretty much every time he steps up to the decks. Of course, Revill doesn’t always get it right. Sometimes he gets too tied down in a particular genre, or is asked by promoters to simply play “bass music”. Sure, he can do that – and brilliantly – but his best sets are those where no boundaries are set – where he can display his ability to mix-it-up with the best of them. He’s at his mesmerising best when concentrating on the party, bottle of Buckfast in hand.
For those still unacquainted with this side of Revill’s approach, this debut Fabriclive mix should be essential listening. From start to finish, it’s a joyous, party-centric romp that barely pauses for breath. In typical Jackmaster fashion, Revill crams in an impressive 29 songs in 70 minutes, hopping between tracks and remixes by such disparate artists as Hud Mo, the Fantastic Aleems, Kim English, Radiohead, Aphex Twin, Doug Willis (aka veteran house producer Dave Lee), Sinden and DJ Funk. Along the way, he touches on everything from classic electro-funk and Motor City techno (UR and Model 500) to hands-aloft UK garage, ragging acid, boompty bass, original hardcore and obscure New York deep house. Grab a bottle of Bucky, don your dancing shoes and tuck in.
Amidst all the excitement of the forthcoming Pearson Sound white label for Night Slugs it’s easy to forget that Fabric will soon be unleashing the stellar Ramadanman/Pearson Sound Fabric Live 56 mix. A timely reminder from the Farringdon institution is provided via the chance to win entrance to the launch party and a copy of the CD.
Having had the Marky & Friends residency at Fabric for a number of years now, it’s surprising that Marky’s entrance into the Fabriclive mix series hall of fame hasn’t come sooner. The Brazilian DJ/producer and Innerground boss – real name Marco Antonio Silva – has been instrumental in the development of the genre in his native city of Sao Paulo and indeed, the country at large, throughout the 90s and well into the new millennium.
Sandwiched in between David Rodigan’s Fabriclive mix released last November and the forthcoming mix from much hyped Hessle Audio poster boy Ramadanman, Marky holds his own and stamps his mark firmly on the series, bringing in the soulful and liquid funk flavours to this 24 track mix. He lives up to his reputation as one of D&B’s foremost versatile and adept DJs, indulging in some trademark scratching to accentuate the live element and remind us of his skills not only as a selector but also as a performer and entertainer.
The mix opens with what was undoubtedly one of the most widely drawn for tunes of 2010, S.P.Y.’s ubiquitous hands-in-the-air rave anthem “By Your Side” and, just a few tracks later, another (albeit rather overplayed) smash hit of last year – “Bright Lights” by Die, Interface feat. William Cartwright. Asides from these more obvious choices, the rest of the selection is a seamless and versatile blend of lesser known, but instantly recognisable tracks from the likes of Logistics, Icicle, Marcus Intalex, S.P.Y, Commix and other household names. Lynx’s “Chess Funk” adds a dollop of humour with slinky drums oozing with funk and Klute’s “Will You Still Love Me?” introduces a darker element to the first half of the mix, employing a warm, rumbling b-line and melancholy strings. Icicle and Skream go in deep, paving the way for Break’s excellent cut “Time After Time”, taken from his recently released album Resistance (check it – it’s big.)
Marky then takes us on a bit of twist and turn as we near the end; with Culture Shock’s magnificent “Cathedral” adding a sprinkling of dancefloor D&B before “Mystic Sunset” closes the piece. Ending aptly with this collab between Marky and his compadre S.P.Y, it’s a testament to his ethos that “music is something I take very seriously and is very emotional to me; all the music I’ve made has a story or history behind it”. Amen to that.