- In his younger days, Zak Khutoretsky was a Midwestern rave renegade. The artist, AKA DVS1, was throwing techno parties in Minneapolis. He made some money and lost even more. He spent time in jail. In contrast to this chaotic period of his life—documented in Resident Advisor's 2015 documentary—the Berghain resident's DJ sets tend to be tight and disciplined. But this precision is only half the story—you'll also find plenty emotion, drama and vigour in his DJing. Khutoretsky's new mix for fabric, as you would expect, is meticulously constructed, but it's also brimming with life.
fabric 96 starts with a rich ambient tone and a rousing speech by Charlie Chaplin—"the hate of men will pass… let us all unite!"—from the 1940 film The Great Dictator. It's a rallying cry no doubt meant to address the times, and kicks off a hard-charging 70 minutes of techno. The mix is often forceful, driven by rapid-fire keys, busy hi-hats, percolating bass, circular 303 patterns and various metallic hits. But it also has a spectral feel that tempers the intensity. The clangs on Doubt's "Just Pain," for instance, contrast nicely with off-key swoons of synth. "Fathoms Deep," by Planetary Assault Systems, provides a placid cosmic backdrop for insistent arps and aqueous percussion.
The mix is defined by subtle undulations rather than abrupt shifts. Its precisely layered transitions—it was mixed on three decks in one take—are often drawn-out and at times nearly imperceptible. They're key to fabric 96's fluid feel. The ping-pong lead of Mike Storm's "From The Human Eye To Earth," for instance, interlocks effortlessly with the synth pings of Sirko Müller's "Our Blood." The syncopated handclaps and tumbling arps of Dustin Zahn's "Politics Of Seduction" go far to set up the rubber-ball bassline of Mike Gervais's "Set Me Free."
Given all that, it can be hard to make out which elements belong to which songs. fabric 96 can seem as much like a single composition as a series of tracks, but it still has plenty of transcendent moments. The "Trans-Europe Express"-style pads on Border One's "Curve" nicely cushion its metal-on-metal percussion. And the offbeat keys of Maan's "Vert" provide a welcome rush of melody, as do the celestial chords of D-56m's "Question Authority." In moments like these, another part of Chaplin's speech comes to mind: "More than machinery, we need humanity." As fabric 96 makes clear, Khutoretsky has squeezed as much heart, soul and life out of his machinery as possible.
01. Unknown Artist - For All Mankind
02. Gabriella Vergilov - Boring Shit
03. Kirill Mamin - Silent Prayer
04. Border One - Curve
05. DOUBT - Just Pain
06. DJ Surgeles - Absorbed
07. Mike Storm - From The Human Eye To Earth
08. Sirko Muller - Our Blood
09. Steffi - 1E-4
10. Psyk - Falling
11. Neel - The Vancori Complex
12. Planetary Assault Systems - Fathoms Deep
13. Oscar Mulero - Drops
14. Jeff Mills - Fly Guy
15. Maan - Vert
16. Steve Bicknell - Space 13
17. Dustin Zahn - Politics Of Seduction
18. Mike Gervais - Set Me Free
19. Adriana Lopez - Last Path
20. Truncate - Pseudo V2
21. ROD - Duchi Kaal
22. Kirill Mamin - Dunning-Kruger Effect
23. Mark Broom - Drum Jamz 2
24. Henning Baer - Code Buster
25. Lando - Ceremony
26. Strain - Theory
27. D-56m - Question Authority
28. Anthony Rother - Technic Electric
29. Jeff Mills - The Dancer