- Joe Seaton is one of those rare artists whose DJing is as distinctive as his music. As Call Super, Ondo Fudd and Elmo Crumb, the Berlin-based producer's elegant techno can work a dance floor and just as easily dip into downtempo and jazz. As a DJ, Seaton makes these sort of contrasts sound natural. fabric 92 is a showcase for his talents and idiosyncrasies. His skill lies not only in an ability to jump between styles and genres, but to do so in a way that feels intuitive, the kind of DJ whose transitions make you wonder why you haven't thought of them yourself.
Judging from fabric 92, his first official mix CD, Seaton knows his records so well that he could mix any two from his collection without overthinking it. Take the opening section: he starts with Beatrice Dillon's gorgeous, jazz-inflected collaboration with Rupert Clervaux, a track that morphs gracefully into house as tunes by Jan Jelinek and M:I:5 play underneath. "The Stitch-Up," where Objekt's synths jumpstart the mix into full-bore techno, is the first of many alchemical moments. The transition is so quick that it seems accidental, yet too perfect to be anything other than deliberate.
There's another great moment two tracks later when Seaton brings in Photek's dreamy "T'Raenon," slowed down so it sounds more like breaky techno than '90s drum & bass. Elsewhere, archival material from IDM producer Jega rubs up against a Shanti Celeste track; obscure UK electro heads Bitstream sit next to Bruce; a 2016 production from Flanger (AKA Burnt Friedman and Atom™) melts into Carl Craig's "A Wonderful Life (Epic Mix)." In Seaton's hands, genres and eras don't matter. He finds a way to make everything fit into his peculiar universe.
Call Super's eclecticism brings to mind Nina Kraviz's recent mix for fabric. Like Seaton, Kraviz mashed up the old with the new, the wacky with the dead serious. But where Kraviz's CD focused on the heady techno that defines her DJ sets, Seaton's expresses the colour and vibrancy of his productions. "Acephale I" and "Acephale II" are centrepieces on fabric 92—one is a stunning downtempo moment in a fizzy bath of synths, and the other brings the mix back to techno. Both are couched in the gentle melodies and relaxed arrangements that make his work so lush.
The quirky side of Seaton's personality emerges at the mix's wonderful and confusing closing section. He lets the groove unravel over an acapella from Walter Brown, a 1940s blues howler. Over the backdrop of Thomas Ankersmit, Valerio Tricoli and Karen Gwyer, Brown's voice is totally anachronistic, which is the point. Once Seaton moves into the funk of Yves Tumor's "The Feeling When You Walk Away," it all makes sense, hitting heavier—and higher—emotional points than most other DJ mixes.
Seaton has said that fabric 92 was inspired by late-hours sets, but that doesn't exactly do this mix justice. There are reflective moments, there are fist-pumping jams and there are the kind of left turns you would hear in the final, bleary-eyed moments of the night when only the hardiest stragglers are left standing. Like the best mixes in the fabric series, Seaton's stands on its own—it's not meant for any time but the moment you put it on. It channels the feeling of dancing all night to your favourite DJ in your favourite club, with an evening's worth of twists, turns, surprises and delights, packed into an 80-minute set that is as much of an artistic statement as any of Seaton's excellent records.
01. Beatrice Dillon and Rupert Clervaux - The Same River Twice
02. M:I:5 - Maßtab 1:5/11
03. Jan Jelinek - Tendency
04. Dresvn - Untitled B1
05. Objekt - The Stitch-Up
06. Two Full Minds - No Smoke
07. Photek - T'Raenon
08. Don't DJ - Pornoire
09. Flanger - Spinner
10. Carl Craig - A Wonderful Life (Epic Mix)
11. Call Super - Acephale I
12. Call Super - Acephale II
13. Marco Bernardi - Demonia
14. Jega - ZX82
15. Shanti Celeste - Strung Up
16. Bitstream - Incubator
17. Bruce - Sweat
18. Convextion - Niche
19. Karen Gwyer - Hippie Fracca
20. Thomas Ankersmit & Valerio Tricoli - Plague #7
21. Walter Brown - Keep On Walkin'
22. Yves Tumor - The Feeling When You Walk Away
23. Max Loderbauer - Giant Hug
24. Speng Bond - Cutbacks