"Different Circles—that's what interests me, different spheres overlapping." So said Jack Adams when I spoke to him last year about his new label with Logos. Perhaps more than any other contemporary British producer, Adams has embraced the fragmented nature of this decade's electronic music. He is an experienced and energetic collaborator, whose work with a range of artists, from Logos to Pinch to rising grime MC Novelist, breaks ground in several genres at once. His Rinse FM show delights in showing how various pockets of music aren't so different after all. It was also the incubator for "weightless," an intersection of contemporary grime, noise and ambient that Adams and Logos have set about turning into a movement of its own.
It speaks to the density of Adams' rolodex that many of the tracks on Fabriclive 80 were specially commissioned for the release. The roster of contributors is impressive, including leftfield figures like Fis and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma and UK dance producers old (Untold) and new (Acre). These artists have been corralled into a sort of statement mix that attempts to find a common thread running through Adams' disparate worlds. Taken individually, much of the material is excellent, but in this wider goal Adams isn't particularly successful.
Perhaps the problem is simply one of volume. So diverse and numerous are Adams' interests that his attempts to give them all a decent showing come at the cost of broader coherence. The mix's opening third follows the most convincing arc, building from an impressionistic fug of noise into steely contemporary club music. We start really going places with a VIP of Untold's "Doff," whose insectoid bass stabs and noxious clouds of white noise seem to embody Adams' vision for dance music. It's a world of bold ideas and stark sonic collisions, playful and immediate for all its avant-garde tendencies.
Sadly, this moment of clarity is fleeting. The trio of Logos collaborations that follow become increasingly lumpy in their pursuit of shock-factor; the grand breakdowns of "In Reverse PIV," appearing just 30 minutes into the mix, feel unearned. When the groove then disintegrates, tumbling us back into beatless space, it's as if the tentative momentum we've built has been needlessly discarded.
This feeling of unfinished business persists for the remainder of the mix. Each of the styles Adams bowls through could merit a CD of its own: there's brooding "weightless," incendiary VIPs of Novelist collaborations "1 Sec" and "Take Time," a brace of grime classics and a closing salvo of '90s hardcore. Together, however, the impression is of both too much and too little. Too much because Adams doesn't have time to probe any one sound in-depth. Too little because, for an artist so known for his collisions of genre, he's surprisingly unadventurous in his mixing. The whole thing unfolds at a rather low velocity, and each micro-style stays in its allotted lane. In each of the circles he inhabits, Adams is an increasingly crucial figure; here, they don't quite overlap enough.
Tracklist01. Shapednoise - Travels In The Universe Of The Soul
02. @c - Ninety-Nine (Remix for Mumdance)
03. Jefre Cantu-Ledesma - Untitled
04. Fis - Branch Light
05. Sculpture - Fabrication II
06. Sweet Exorcist - Testsix (Toneappella)
07. Mite - Cemetery Seance
08. Logos - Glass
09. Pinch - Water Bomb
10. Untold - Doff (VIP)
11. Acre - No Signal
12. Mumdance & Logos - Hall Of Mirrors
13. Mumdance & Logos - In Reverse PIV
14. Mumdance & Logos - Cold
15. Helm - Outerzone
16. Wanda Group - Piano In The Corner Of The Room
17. Strict Face - Rushed
18. Mumdance, Logos & Rabit - Inside The Catacomb
19. Inkke - Choong (Devil Mix)
20. Novelist x Mumdance - 1 Sec (FABRICLIVE VIP)
21. Mumdance feat. Riko - Take Time VIP
22. Eastwood & Oddz - Coalition
23. Jon E Cash - Kamikaze
24. Bass Selective - Blow Out Part II
25. Fat Controller - In Complete Darkness
26. Jimmy J & Cru-l-t - Six Days
27. Ramos & Supreme - The Journey Part 1