January 07, 2010

Article: Fabric London - Love em or Hate em?

'Elevator Music' Special:

Unless you have been living in a cave for the last 10 years then you may have heard of the infamous Fabric club in London. I didnt check out the place until around 2005 and the main thing I recall of my first hazy Saturday night visit was that I never even realised that room one existed! Well upon further visits to the club I finally found it and had the pleasure of hearing, for me, the best soundsystem (in a club) I have ever heard. Yes, I have heard of the Labryinth Festival in Japan and it's ridiculous sound-system and various other legendary sound-systems around the world, but in terms of a club sound-system there isnt really much more that can be done to improve the sound at Fabric. It's nearly always just the right level (depending on the talent and experience of the DJ) and has crystal clear sound and depth which, especially in room one, is perfectly tailored for showcasing the many sonic levels and textures that good quality House & Techno has to offer. Rumour has it, that if you are clued up enough and keep a look out, you may actually catch the sound engineer 'Sanj' pottering around the dancefloor tweaking the levels to sustain that constant sweetspot of sound, which can't be a bad thing for any DJ can it?

However there is a darker, colder sider to Fabric which has been highlighted over the years, especially in the latter ones, and this is an image which has been mainly reinforced by the influx of tourists and hipsters from all over the world, who have no interest or clue about who or what is playing, but are there just because it's the cool place to be. Fabric by no means have done themselves any favours here by letting in far too many people on far too many occasions when headliners have played which has helped kill any sort of atmosphere that may have been created over the course of the night. Also due to the mixture of crowd types, i.e hipsters and tourists combined with music enthusiasts, it has often led to the atmosphere and club dynamics feeling somewhat sterile and void of any emotion or 'vibe'.

One thing though that has to be said here about the club is that love em or hate em, however big their brand and image has become, unlike many huge clubbing institutions before them, in no way shape or form over the years has Fabric ever took their fingers off the pulse. They have always stayed true to themselves, never selling out to expectations, and are continuously pushing forward new talent accross a wide spectrum of the electronic music canvas, showcased through from the more urban UK Bass and HipHop spectrum of their Friday night to the more straight up House and Techno on their Saturday night. All I can say is, that regardless of the atmosphere on a general basis in Fabric, on the times they have got it right, I have had some of the most magical musical and clubbing experiences of my life there, and to hear people like Ricardo Villalobos on form working the levels to absolute perfection and playing some of the most mind bending shit your ever likely to hear or even just to hear some of your favourite music on THAT sound-system will always be somewhat special, even to the most cynical of clubbers.

On this note, I can now go on to explain about their new project called 'Elevator Music' which will be showcased on their launch party, spread across all three rooms on Friday 8 Jan 2010. Below is a little snippit version of the summery by Fabric themselves about the concept of the project and what your likely to be hearing.

"Fabric are set to venture into fresh territory with a new unmixed compilation series. Entitled Elevator Music, the purpose of each of the releases is to showcase unreleased tracks from some of the producers that have been exciting the Fabric staff, with a definite focus on dance floor."
"Although Graham Best (Fabric's A&R synchronisation manager) has said that future editions won't focus on any particular genre, Volume 1 has a grounding in UK bass music and related international producers, collecting new tracks from the likes of Martyn, Starkey, Shortstuff, Untold and Hot City, as well as an appearance from previous Fabriclive contributors Caspa & Rusko. Ranging from bumping sub-heavy house through to various styles of dubstep, the compilation is sure to appeal to listeners who have been keeping their eyes on recent developments in the UK scene. Although only a CD release is on the cards for the meantime, Best has hinted that there will be a set of vinyl singles that will follow on from the compilation's release in January."
Not mentioned in the above press release are various other acts playing on the opening night such as the now hotly tipped Joy Orbison, in full swing after his massive 2009 crossover track 'Hyph Mngo', which if, again you were that person living in a cave in 2009, you may have missed all the hype around this track, with it being charted as the number one biggest track of 2009 on many music websites and blogs. Also other excting artists such as 2562, the future smooth Drum & Bass influenced Dubstep of Dbridge / Instra:mental and the techy precision of Headhunter. Basically everyone who have been exciting Fabric and me for that matter during the course of 2009.
I think what is great here is that Fabric have created an umbrella with this night and project of all the artists which have splintered off and mutated from the varous branches of UK Bass and are quite hard to pin down. It's almost a 'take from it what you want' kind of attitude which reminds me of the early days of House & Techno before the genre definitions came to rule and regulate. I don't know exactly why, but over the last few years I have found myself listening to more and more of the crossover stuff from UK Bass, hearing more and more interesting sounds and sonic explorations with each listen and it has made a refreshing change in contrast to what has been the main theme of the more straight up sounds in House/Techno over the last few years, which is the whole mid 90's retro 'old is new' trend, but that is a whole new topic in itself that I may write about at some point. But slightly back on topic, as many a House head or Techno nerd may say, "House is a feeling" and "Techno is a state of mind"; so if this is the case, then as long as these crossover idea's are creating the emotion your after, then isnt this the 'feeling' or 'state of mind' your claiming to be chasing?
Anyway check out the little video below which showcases the tracks due be released on Fabric's exclusive 'Elevator Music' compilation coming very soon. Mine is in the post and is due to arrive shortly, so I can't wait to get my hands on it! I'm especially after a few tracks in there, one of them being the HUGE roller called 'Skinnz - Ukraine' which i'm looking forward to weaving in and out of some other rhythms in my record box shortly!
Also here's a little quote by Mr Skinnz himself on his current style, which is exactly the kind of attitude I'm loving.
“I see what I do as taking elements of classic loop techno and fusing them onto a deeper rolling bass-heavy framework,” reasons Skinnz, “I’m inspired as much by older Marco Carola as I am by Mala!”


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