fabric’s license being revoked by Islington Council in the early hours of this morning was devastating news for the dance music community, leaving a giant hole in UK club land.
Sasha described fabric as the jewel in the crown of British clubbing when its original closure was announced last month. And if the Farringdon venue is the cream of the UK’s clubbing crop, their fabric and FABRICLIVE mix series have consistently set the standard for mix compilations since their inception in 2001.
But choosing your favourite fabric mix is akin to picking your preferred offspring. There’s 15 years of material to run through, and as you turn your mind back, mixes that defined a time and place in electronic music repeatedly present themselves.
Who could forget the slamming warped-electro of Radioactive Man’s ‘fabric 08’, Jacques Lu Cont’s wonderfully playful ‘FABRICLIVE 09’ mix, or the deliriously deep and moody electro house of Tiefschwarz’s ‘fabric 29’? More recently, minimal masters Zip, Raresh and Rhadoo have all turned in impeccable selections, as well as Move D, who delivered a glorious mix of understated yet uplifting house for ‘fabric 74’.
Whether the series will continue in the absence of fabric’s license remains to be seen, with Gerd Janson’s ‘fabric 89’ the most recent in the series to be released in August, and Hannah Wants’ ‘FABRICLIVE 89’ dropping this month (September). Below, DJ Mag staff members pick their favourite fabric mix, and explain exactly what it means to them.
Chosen by Rob McCallum, deputy digital editor.
Speaking about ‘fabric 10’ at the time of its release, Doc Martin said, “The first time I played Fabric I didn’t know what the vibe would be. I dropped Maurice Fulton next to Moodymann, into techno and acid and it all went down great. People at fabric are open to anything.” And that’s why this mix rises to the top; the perfect example of fabric’s music policy, with Martin’s discreet yet dynamic u-turns consistently baffling. Deep, weird and sprawling, the San Franciscan mixed ‘fabric 10’ live on three decks, with the results a raw precursor to the druggy house of Apollonia, shifting from Tiefschwarz’ fried disco, Pete Moss’ melancholy grooves and into Derrick Carter at his trippy best. Oh, and it features music by Larry Heard, which always wins.
Chosen by Adam Saville, deputy editor.
Perhaps the best representation of fabric's eclectic approach to dance music, 'FabricLive 24’ not only showcased the Mad Decent boss’ exceptional skills as a mash-up turntablist (something many Major Lazer fans probably aren’t even aware of), it saw the world of Detroit techno, house and electro enter into ‘80s pop, R&B, baile funk, hip-hop and UK funky in a way that it hadn’t ever before. From that Plant Life/Nina Sky bootleg opener to ‘Windowlicker’ into ‘Percolator’ into ’This Is Sick’ — not forgetting ‘Bombs Over Bagdad’ and The Cure — Diplo’s FABRICLIVE mix was not only enthralling; it helped open our ears to the limitless potential of the DJ booth.
Chosen by Charlotte Lucy Cijffers, digital & Ibiza editor.
Hands down one of my favourite DJ mixes ever, this seminal release by Music On's Marco Carola (his first ever mix CD, in fact) dropped in my last year of high school in the sleepy city of Brisbane, Australia. It was my first introduction to Carola as an artist, to fabric as an underground music institution and to “proper” minimal techno — this was the start of it all for me! The perfect fusion of groove and drive, it still stands up as a masterclass in throbbing, dancefloor perfection — hard to believe this was released almost a decade ago to the day. Thankyou fabric for starting my affinity with techno — you will be sorely missed.
Chosen by Carl Loben, editor.
I’d been going to Fabric since the start, and found pretty much all the mix comps top-notch, but this one from Tayo in 2007 stands out. The way he moves the blend from dubwise breakbeat into techno into the kuduro bass of Buraka Som Sistema (Fabric’s first artist signing), before dropping in some glitchy stuff and finishing with some dubstep — the UK-derived sound that Fabric helped nurture in its early days before it went global — is sublime, a real journey. Some kick-ass selections, too. Really hope this series continues.
dBridge & Instra:mental Present Autonomic
Chosen by Ben Hindle, staff writer.
As an incubator of future-thinking, underground movements, fabric has no rival. dBridge and Instra:mental’s emotive autonomic sound may have been catergorised as a drum & bass off-shoot, but it was (and is) so much more. Through the varying backgrounds and styles of the artists featured on ‘fabriclive 50’ and the visionary nights held at the club itself (to which both my musical education and personal friendships owe a great deal), autonomic was able to discard all preconceptions and put the music first.
Elijah & Skilliam
Chosen by Felicity Martin, albums editor.
Heartbreakingly, Butterz tweeted earlier: ‘I think that's us done with London residencies now too. We have done a large party nearly every quarter since 2011 and every club has closed.’ Grime bosses Elijah & Skilliam’s showcase of their multi-pronged stable from 2014 featured roughed-up bombs from Swindle, Flava D, Jme and Royal-T. Steadily inching up the pace before touching down on grime’s more melancholy side (Wiley’s ‘Born in the Cold’), the mix remains the perfect advert for just how wide the label’s scope is.
DJ Mag is liveblogging through the day to give updates and insights into the aftermath of the decision to revoke their license. Get involved using #FabricReview, and don’t forget to join our #SaveOurClubs campaign.
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