- Scuba's entry into fabric's famed mix series comes at an unfortunate time. The iconic club has been shuttered, its staff laid off, leaving the future of London nightlife seemingly endangered by developers, government authorities and those who think of nightclubs as a haven for degenerates. Scuba, real name Paul Rose, recently moved back to London and was the last DJ to play at fabric, and none of the unfortunate events had unfolded when he handed in fabric 90. Yet it's impossible to listen to his mix without these events in mind. Rose has used 42 tracks in a mix that runs about 75 minutes, building dense rhythmic constructions out of minimal DJ tools, as though he viewed Objekt's Kern Vol. 3 as a challenge. The artfulness and complexity of fabric 90 can be seen as a riposte towards those who seek to belittle dance music and club culture as mindless fun, while also serving as a functional summary of a night in Room One.
Instead of cramming together these 42 tracks with a breakneck mixing style, most sections are essentially mashups of two to four different cuts. Various rhythmic elements are teased in and out before Rose moves into another cluster of productions. Unless you've somehow heard all of this music (which includes currently unreleased Hotflush records from newcomers like Isaac Reuben and Blursome), simply following along with the tracklist is difficult, to say nothing of actually mixing it. It's easy to imagine Rose toying around in Ableton on long-haul flights, piecing together these rhythmic monsters like a jigsaw puzzle.
Rose has had a varied journey in dance music. He explored the connections between dubstep and techno with his SUB:STANCE residency at Berghain, tried his hand at poppy, big-room tracks and then dipped back into ominous atmospheres with 2015's Claustrophobia. fabric 90, though bursting at the seams with new club music, is far more restrained than Scuba's DJ-Kicks. Rose now sounds interested in subtle melodic textures and the interplay between tough, minimal DJ tools. In short, he's not looking for big hooks or easy hands-in-the-air moments.
Early in the mix, he uses Mike Servito's "730 Reshape" of Justin Cudmore's "Crystal," but rather than dropping in the Yazoo-style synth that defines the track, he only snatches the intro's slamming drums. While lo-fi inclusions from labels like Opal Tapes and L.A. Club Resource may raise some eyebrows, the likes of Nathan Melja's "Make Rekkurds," with its dubbed-out synth stabs reminiscent of Levon Vincent's "Late Night Jam," fit right in. There's often a rhythmic formula at work too. When the chain-rattle percussion of Regis & Antonym's "Simple Radical Practice" enmeshes with the disembodied two-step of Blursome's "Night," it's like North London Scuba meeting his Berlin counterpart in a dark alley.
All of the extra effort has paid off: fabric 90 is a killer dance mix first, a technical exercise second. The pent-up strings on Truncate's remix of Kamera's "Consignia" perfectly set the stage for Pearson Sound's "XLB." The shift out of Literon's "Freak Frequency" into Tallmen 785's unreleased "Gear Shift" is a basic filter sweep mix that could be done with any setup.
Like the finale of a fireworks show, the mix's final 15 minutes are stunning. Scuba mashes his exclusive deep techno track "Protean" into Stenny's "Consumer's Tool," before introducing the funkiest bassline on fabric 90, from Kloves' "Eksibit." They set the stage for a beautiful, four-part ending that includes the Cinematic Orchestra's jazzy, downtempo take on "Guauanco" by Las Gammas, Midland's propulsive "Decompression Suite" and a snippet from Patrick Cowley's '80s gay porn soundtracks. Rose ends his painstaking mix with a flourish, accomplishing his goal of exploring a dizzying set of moods and rhythms while hovering around 128 BPM. That deceptively low-key showmanship was made possible by the years Rose has spent playing and listening, watching the dancers at clubs like the now quiet Farringdon institution.
01.1 Digitaline - Astronauten
01.2 Patrick Cowley - Uhura
02.1 Dense & Pika - Crackling
02.2 DXC - Qua Đêm
02.3 Justin Cudmore - Crystal (Mike Servito's 730 Reshape)
03.1 Nathan Melja - Make Rekkurds
03.2 G-Man - Fuchsia
03.3 Exercise One & Donato Dozzy - People Of Paprika
03.4 Dense & Pika - Mooger Fooger
04.1 Regis & Antonym - Simple Radical Practice
04.2 Blursome - Night
05.1 Ben Klock - Point Blank
05.2 Carl Craig - Demented Drums
06.1 Miss Fitz - Menternal (Villalobos In the Pipe Mix)
06.2 Alleged Witches - One Skilled In The Black Arts
07.0 Isaac Reuben - sas1711
08.1 Eric Cloutier - Palimpsest
08.2 DXC - Sâu sắc
09.1 Kamera - Consignia (Truncate Remix)
09.2 Pearson Sound - XLB
10.1 Donato Dozzy - Quadra Sette
10.2 Glaskin - Ultra Deep Field
11.1 Taylor Deupree - Untitled (Marco Shuttle Remix)
11.2 Surgeon & James Ruskin - Sound Pressure Part 3
12.0 Isaac Reuben – Echo Pulse
13.1 Literon - Freak Frequency
13.2 Markus Suckut - Symbiosis
14.0 Tallmen 785 - Gear Shift
15.1 Sciahri - Ambiguity
15.2 DXC - Rạng Đông
16.1 Tessela - With Patsy
16.2 Wrecking Project - S-SONICS
16.3 Gunnar Haslam - Overcomplete
17.1 Scuba - Protean
17.2 Stenny - Consumer's Tool
18.1 Jonas Friedlich - Praise Your Name
18.2 Kloves – Eksibit
19.1 kuf – Konflikt
19.2 Les Gammas - Guauanco (Cinematic Orchestra Remix)
19.3 Midland - Decompression Suite
19.4 Patrick Cowley – Uhura