Here endeth the lesson. The 100th and final edition of Fabric’s Fabriclive CD mix series comes courtesy of two artists who, perhaps above all others, have defined the sound of the London club since the turn of the millenium. Burial’s South London bleakscapes and Kode9’s Hyperdub label have spread their tentacles into nearly every facet of UK club music, and you’d be hard-pressed to argue that any of the other 99 Fabriclive mixes don’t bear their influence in one way or another. Now, as the series rounds out, the pair drop a 37-track mix that shows love to footwork, gqom, jungle, grime and everything in between. Not to be missed.
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FabricLive 1 was released 3rd December 2001. I had no idea what Fabric was, and the closest to clubbing my 7 year old self had been was watching the death sticks scene from The Phantom Menace. On it, Mo’ Wax’s James Lavelle mixed together DJ Shadow, Green Velvet and Radiohead to start off what is probably the most well regarded physical mix series in the world. And now it has come to its end. And Fabric have asked two very different DJs/producers than Lavelle to turn the page on this institution: Kode9 and Burial.
Lavelle’s relationship to physical music is a given, just look at the name of his label. Kode9 and Burial meanwhile, are very much artists of the digital. While Mo’ Wax’s DJ Shadow was hunting through record stores to build his tracks, Burial was sampling video games and Youtube clips. And the success of Kode9’s Hyperdub label feels very much indebted to the rise of the internet. I can only speculate, but I’d wager that same internet is partly what’s motivated Fabric to rethink what FabricLive is, and by asking two such forward looking and inimitable artists to make the mix they have created the perfect bridge to its future.
So to the mix itself. Given how long the pair have been at the forefront of music it’s sheer freshness should come as no surprise. But what might be is how they’ve given Luke Slater’s electro, or NUT-E-1’s breakbeats, a new lease of life by putting them next to tracks from the leading edge of dance music. Those tracks, who represent movements key to Fabric’s history, get slammed into tracks by the likes of Lechuga Zafira from the incendiary NAAFI label, and a whole host of footwork (from Jlin, RP Boo and more) to show how much has changed, but also how much hasn't. Here is a mix that not only knows the history it’s a part of, but seems to deeply care about it too.
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- FABRICLIVE 100 by Kode9 & Burial
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