- A landmark mix as ambitious as it is erratic.
- Over the last two decades, Fabriclive mixes have captured the most vital sounds of UK dance music, from breaks and drum & bass through grime, dubstep and beyond. This makes Burial and Kode9 a fine choice for the final edition. Both artists have defined a recent era of UK electronic music—Kode9 with the output of his Hyperdub label, and Burial with his beloved 2007 album Untrue. The idea of them working together on Fabriclive 100 is obviously intriguing. Both are fiercely original artists. Tasked with such a landmark mix, what kind of mind-bending thing would they come up with? The results are indeed mind-bending, if not quite in the way we might have hoped. Burial and Kode9 are both massive talents, and at times it feels like Fabriclive 100 wasn't big enough for the two of them.
We don't know who mixed which part of Fabriclive 100, but at any given moment you may be tempted to guess. The mix moves through a few different chapters, separated by moments of ambience and big leaps in genre and tempo. Some, like the opening and closing sections, are tightly mixed and deftly paced, presenting dynamic hybrids of genres like footwork and gqom. Others are made up of older sounds, from drum & bass and jungle to techno and hardcore. These sections are unmixed, their tracks separated by a familiar kind of ambience: muffled whispers, distant wails, the tinkling of ammo shells. We switch between these two modes a few times over the course of the mix, never very elegantly.
This pattern first reveals itself about 12 minutes in. By this point we've had a slow-build of slick and syncopated grooves, culminating in Tzusing's wild remix of Hyph11e's "Black Pepper 炎." So far, so good. Then, all of a sudden, we seem to be in less steady hands. An abrupt fade into rain and what might be guns cocking sets the stage for Luke Slater's "I Can Complete You," a 2002 electroclash track that scuppers the careful momentum of what came before. From there begins an odd medley of jungle, techno and hardcore, interspersed with Burial-esque ambience. 15 minutes later, a new section begins—this time, tightly mixed footwork.
You can imagine how this approach might have worked, with some sections representing the present and future of club music and others offering up ghostly vestiges of its past. A lot of the music here is amazing, from the slinky grooves in the opening stretch to the neon footwork at the end and the haunting Burial precursors sprinkled throughout. But this strange tug-of-war prevents the mix from finding a satisfying groove.
Fabriclive 100 is without a doubt an inspired effort, an ambitious and highly creative attempt at capturing its selectors' musical lineage. But it's also a bit of a mess. It feels like the wild second-to-last draft of a creative project, the one that gets canned following an epiphany by the teapot and replaced with something far simpler. We'll never get that simpler version. What we have instead is this demented ghost train of a mix, too chaotic for its own good, but ultimately worth the ride.
01. Untitled - Untitled
02. Klein - Hurry
03. Cooly G - Magnetic
04. Julz Da Deejay - Deaths Effect
05. Roman Rodney - Triple Beat
06. TLC Fam - Skim Sam (Dbn Dance)
07. Nazar - Konvoy
08. Lechuga Zafiro - Agua Y Puerta
09. Hyph11e - Black Pepper 炎 (Tzusing Remix)
10. Luke Slater - I Can Complete You
11. Virgin - B9
12. Nut-E-1 - Underwater Fireworks
13. David Hykes - Rainbow Voice
14. Jungle Buddha - Drug Me
15. Black Acid - Black Acid
16. Vladislav Delay - Otan Osaa
17. DJ Spinn - Make Me Hot
18. Mr Fingers - Spy (Kode9 Remix)
19. Scratcha DVA feat. Clara Le San - Pink 33 (DJ Phil Remix)
20. DJ Tre - A House Hybrid
21. TEDDMAN - Baby
22. DJ Rashad - Let It Go
23. ONTHEGROUND - Fallen
24. Intense - The Quickening
25. Genecom - Polyphonic Raid
26. Clementine - The Opening
27. Victim Rebirth - Metamesonyxtia Narkogyra
28. Friends Lovers & Family - The Lift
29. AK1200 feat. Junior Reid - Junior's Tune (Digital Remix)
30. Okzharp & Manthe Ribane - Treasure Erasure
31. Ben Frost - Ionia (Jlin Remix)
32. DJ Taye - Nu Summer Shit / Babyfather - Prolific Deamons
33. Jacob's Optical Stairway - Solar Feelings (Claude Young's Kyoto Soul Dub)
34. Proc Fiskal - Dishwashing
35. DJ Chap - Brujeria
36. DJ Tre - A Hammond Jam
37. RP Boo - Wicked'Bu