- A momentous mix from the UK duo.
- "We were driving back to our mum's one night and we decided to make some tunes together." That's how the brothers Ed and Tom Russell, better known as Tessela and Truss, describe the formation of their powerhouse collaboration. Since then, the duo has become their primary concern, each one taking key beats from their solo projects—breakbeat hardcore (Tessela) and techno (Truss)—and using this toolkit to craft big room tracks that float trance-indebted melodies on top of hardcore continuum rhythms.
Naturally, this stuff has gone over gangbusters. They've signed to XL, collaborated with Joy Orbison, remixed Thom Yorke, appeared in GTA, and generally seem to be the UK techno group of the moment. Their fabric Presents mix, then, comes at an auspicious moment where they seem poised to approach chart-threatening, Bicep-style territory. "We'd just stepped out to get a curry from a take-away called Bombay To Bromley, which is nearby our studio, when we got an email asking us to do a mix for fabric," is how they describe this opportunity, in keeping with their casual origin story.
The mix, however, barrels in with a full head of steam. As Overmono initially crafted their tracks using a library of samples pulled from otherwise forgettable UK white labels, it's fitting that their mix feels like a love letter to UK dance music. Within the first two tracks, clear signifiers of this focus emerge, from the massive breakbeats of their own opener "So U Kno," to the hoover bass of Artwork's "The Soul," and the seamless integration of Antonio's UKG gem "Hyperfunk." It's all quickly mixed and relentless, which is perhaps the best adjective for Overmono's music.
This leads up to a hands-in-the-air section that starts with L.B. Dub Corp's "I Have A Dream feat. Benjamin Zephaniah," where Luke Slater's church-like organ chords are matched by the fervor of the dub poet Zephaniah's utopic vision of UK multiculturalism (I see thousands of muscular Black men on Hampstead Heath, walking their poodles/And hundreds of Black female Formula 1 drivers racing around Birmingham.) This blends into a twitchy Plastikman rhythm followed by Overmono's own remix of For Those I Love's "I Have A Love." Here, the brothers Russell back up the original's impassioned verse with a dead-simple trance melody. It's almost too much. Put any random person in a dark room during this sequence and they'd emerge a blissed-out raver for life.
It feels almost merciful that the rest of the mix departs from this serotonin rush theatricality, zipping through a dizzying array of genres from Rotterdam techno (DJ Misjah's "Victim") to drum & bass (Orca's watery 1994 roller "Intellect" is a subdued highlight, suitably followed by the megaton dub bassline on Smith & Mighty's "Film Score"). The mix resolves with a suite of poignant and dreamy leftfield tracks from the likes of Sockethead and the shadowy World Music-signed act 1995 epilepsy. It's the opposite of a typical "official mix" or podcast, which tend to start off with ambient before getting to the banging stuff. Or, if you want to use a night at fabric as a metaphor, Overmono's fabric Presents sees us arriving in room one for peak time before letting off at the contemplative moment right before the after-afterparty disperses.
I took some creative license when I quoted Overmono speaking about getting curry and casually agreeing to do a fabric mix. They followed it up with some beautiful language about London. "There was something about the vibe that evening that's quite typical of South-East London on a cold winter's night. Overheard conversations and disagreements. Night buses with steamed-up windows. Sirens in the distance. A bit tense but exciting at the same time. You know there's always something going on somewhere out there. There's a lot of energy in the air." Overmono reveals a lot about what makes them tick in their fabric mix. Specifically, they situate their mix of delicate melodies and banging drums within a blissful narrative of UK dance music, favoring tracks that mirror their own, equal parts brawn and beauty.
01. Overmono - So U Kno
02. Artwork - The Soul
03. Foremost Poets - MoonRaker
04. Milanese - Billy Hologram
05. Antonio - Hyperfunk
06. Overmono - If U Ever
07. DJ Zank - Pegassans
08. Surgeon & James Ruskin - Sound Pressure Part 3
09. Holy Ghost - 4AM At The Crying Cactus
10. L.B. Dub Corp - I Have A Dream ft. Benjamin Zephaniah
11. Plastikman - Fuk
12. For Those I Love - I Have A Love (Overmono Remix)
13. DJ Misjah - Victim
14. Powder - Lost of Light
15. Overmono - BMW Track
16. LCY - shhh
17. Vex'd - Pop Pop
18. Robert Fleck - Bromine
19. Anz - Morphing Into Brighter
20. Actress - Caves of Paradise
21. Remarc - Thunderclap (Dubplate Mix)
22. Equiknoxx - A Rabbit Spoke To Me When I Woke Up
23. Ed Rush & Optical - Bacteria
24. Orca - Intellect
25. Smith & Mighty - Film Score
26. Blawan - Fourth Dimensional
27. Roy Of The Ravers - Erolfa
28. Sockethead - When I Close My Eyes I See Paint
29. 1995 epilepsy - get 2 kno