- "I wanted to capture that moment when you put the needle down on that record that gave you goosebumps, the find you were looking for," says King Cheetah in the notes for his first record, "Water Maze." "You only hear two seconds and you know it's for you." The Detroit producer's track opens Ryan Elliott's fabric 88, and he's right: from the second those silky organ stabs start the mix, you know you're in the right place.
This is the Berlin-based DJ's second prominent mix in a short time, following 2014's Panorama Bar 06. Just as fabric has a whole different vibe than its Berlin analogue, so do Elliott's mix CDs, this one rarely taking a break or a breather. If Panorama Bar 06 showed Elliott's depth and finesse, weaving between breakdowns, tempo changes and other detours, then fabric 88 shows he can follow a straight line just as well.
Elliott barrels through 24 tracks that toe the line between house and techno. He selects from the likes of DVS1, Mike Parker, Wincent Kunth and Robert Hood, only teasing at relief from the steady gallop. Early on, when Phil Moffa's "Ignition" takes the mix into near-silence, you can still hear the kick drum pounding in the distance. But Elliott soon brings it back up and slams into Tallmen 785's remix of Fiedel (one of the mix's highlights). There are a few moments where it feels like Elliott is about to leave you suspended above a chasm, before he smartly deploys a safety net. Anna Caragnano & Donato Dozzy's beatless oddity, "Parola," should kill the momentum, but Elliott keeps it bouncy and propulsive, as if it were skidding across an icy floor. It makes DVS1's full-figured "Tracking" land with extra oomph.
For the mix's final section, Elliott locks into a headier sound anchored by big synths and bigger melodies. The hypnotic thrust of Mike Parker's "Luminescent" is buoyed by Steve O'Sullivan & Ben Sim's spiky "Five Fingers In The Worst"—a sneaky slip into 2001—and things wrap up with a dual-pronged finale. The widescreen synths from Z.I.P.P.O. and Jack Murphy end the mix powerfully, before Elliott pivots into "Chapitre VIII: Nihon No Tabi," Anne-James Chaton's spoken-word track with electronics from Alva Noto. It feels almost tongue-in-cheek, a sudden drop into silence after 70 minutes of high-speed thrills.
When announcing fabric 88, Elliott said that, to him, fabric "has always been about getting lost and locked into one continuous groove." For the mix, he set his sights on a no-frills peak-time session and knocked it out of the park with smart selections and his trademark fast-but-steady mixing. Many of the world's best DJs, and particularly those in Berlin (Elliott included), are revered for sets that stretch past three hours. fabric 88 shows that Elliott's prowess isn't limited to marathons.
01. King Cheetah - Water Maze
02. Borrowed Identity - LFI
03. Wincent Kunth - Unknown Deep
04. Black Boxx - Black Boxx EP2 (B1)
05. DJ Skull - Revenge Of The Synth
06. Phil Moffa - Ignition
07. Fiedel - Back Door (Tallmen 785 Remix)
08. Lapien - Searching
09. Kid Sublime - The Loop
10. Tensal - Achievement 3
11. Bas Mooy - Nearby Silent Horses
12. 3KZ - Machine
13. The Persuader - Inre Stenen
14. Anna Caragnano & Donato Dozzy - Parola
15. DVS1 - Tracking
16. James Ruskin - The Outsider
17. Robert Hood - Master Jack
18. Mike Parker - Luminescent Black
19. Orion - Patos
20. Steve O'Sullivan & Ben Sims present High-Life - Five Fingers In The West (UK Gold Remix)
21. Sub Space - Eleven + Twelve (Locked Grooves)
22. Z.I.P.P.O - Shift
23. Jack Murphy - B1
24. Anne-James Chaton with Alva Noto & Andy Moor - Chapitre VIII: Nihon No Tabi