Ed Rush & Optical - Fabriclive 82

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  • Many people probably thought Ed Rush & Optical burned out with the rest of the techstep scene about six years ago. That was when the coiled menace that made the pair's Wormhole LP so compelling finally blew over into an unsustainable tantrum. However, their Virus label continues to release tracks that still prod the dying embers of techstep. An entry in the Fabriclive series should theoretically allow the pair, otherwise known as Ben Settle and Matt Quinn, to follow in the footsteps of fellow darkside veterans Noisia and Calyx & Teebee—acting as a chance to grab the attention of those who don't necessarily mind it tough, but don't want all their drum & bass to sound like an argument between a roadworks and a vacuum cleaner. So, then, is it worthy of their time? No, a hard no as brutal and stubborn as Fabriclive 82 itself. For if the fact that Ed Rush & Optical are still around comes as a surprise, the same can't be said of their style. Even if you don't know them, track titles like "Dive Bomb" and artists called Grotesque let you know exactly what you're going to get before you press play. Settle and Quinn certainly haven't gone soft or lost their grip with age—the mix features 39 tracks mixed tighter and more ruthlessly than thumbscrews—but they sure haven't changed either. It's saying something when the sudden freefall in the Noisia remix of Konflict's "Messiah" counts as a "breather," or when you welcome being harangued by the rap on Black Sun Empire & State Of Mind's "Until The World Ends" simply because it's somewhat different to everything else. Settling into the mix is like being repeatedly jabbed with a faulty cattle prod: it occasionally startles you with something like the insanely elasticated Calyx & Teebee remix of Spor's "Aztec," but for the most part is just painful and annoying. Plenty of the distorted basslines here actually sound like someone retching, and it's all too funkless to work well as dance music. It's a sad irony that the pair who spawned neurofunk now more closely resemble brostep, with the same predictable builds lacking attitude and drops that open up like a yawning chasm. Indeed, by the end of Fabriclive 82, yawning is very much the operative word.
  • Tracklist
      01. Phace - Shape The Random 02. Ed Rush & Optical - Chubrub 03. State Of Mind - Full Force 04. Optiv & BTK - Dive Bomb 05. Noisia - Incessant 06. Ed Rush - Scarabs VIP 07. Audio - Headroom (Audio VIP) 08. Ed Rush & Optical - The Host 09. Current Value - Loner 10. Signs - Clockout 11. Black Sun Empire & State Of Mind feat. PNC - Until The World Ends 12. June Miller & Mefjus - Saus 13. Dimension - Whip Slap 14. Maztek & Grotesque - Straight To Bad (Maztek VIP Remix) 15. State Of Mind, Mindscape & Jade - Know Your Place 16. Noisia - Stamp Out 17. Mefjus - Surrounded 18. Neonlight & Wintermute - Influx 19. De:tune - Purge 20. Neonlight & Wintermute - Insomnia 21. Audio - Heads Up VIP 22. Noisia, Hybris & Mefjus - Reptilians 23. Hypoxia - Badass 24. Spor - Aztec (Calyx & TeeBee Remix) 25. Ed Rush & Optical - Watermelon 26. DC Breaks - Shaman VIP 27. Misanthrop - I Need More 28. Optical & BTK - The Infection 29. Konflict - Messiah (Noisia Remix) 30. Audio - Collision 31. Hybrid Minds feat. Tempza & Laurence Baker - Drama (Neonlight Remix) 32. Signs - Acid Test 33. Optiv & BTK - Inside Out 34. Neonlight & Wintermute - Never Stop 35. The Qemists - Stompbox (Spor Remix) 36. Ed Rush & Optical - The Turnover 37. Mefjus & Misanthrop - Stutter 38. BTK, Maztek & Optiv - Footprint 39. Black Sun Empire & State Of Mind - Jack Nicholson