Its not quite the same as collecting vintage fine wine or classic cars but collecting fabric cd’s monthly since its launch in Nov 2001 has been quite the labour of love. The anticipation on receiving each month a shrink wrapped, new cd, in a digital age, whilst not knowing what to expect or with no preview to listen to has kept our musical tastes open our ears liberated from the mainstream and our faith in good techno music is still alive.
To celebrate this labour of love 13yrs into the journey we wanted to give credit and homage to our ‘Top 10’ and the reasons why. No easy feat, much deliberated and with numerous changes we are in a position to look back at some great moments in the collections history and pull out our favs in order from what we think is the greatest back catalogue of any house/tech music club in history.
1. Fabric 13 Micheal Mayer (2003)
Its number one because we just weren’t ready for it. Techno had always been hard. This was emotional and in some places melancholic. Mayer manages to put a warmness to the tracks combining Italo piano to early noughties tech house to peak time tracks such as Jackson’s Midnight Fuck remix of M83’ Run Into Flowers’..
Villalobos ‘Easy Lee’ at the middle point of the cd was almost indicating half time before going on to a different journey in the second half, which closed out with Heiko Voss – I Think About You (original mix). This track indicated a celebration of the mix which left you knowing you had just heard something not only memorable but what has become timeless.
2. Fabric 04 Tony Humphries (2002)
To have a US style led mix in the early part of the labels history was not only brave but sheer genius as it opened up doors to many people who may not have favoured this genre as a preferable choice of house/techno music.
Its eclectic, and covers a variety of genres whilst still being able to blend together to form a journey for the listener. The mix has some classic vocal house numbers “How Does It Feel?” by Househeadz and Soldiers of Twilight’s “Believe” which was making waves at the time due to a good house vocal and deep throbbing baseline. “Sunshine Yellow” by Bertrand Burgalat adds a more twisted element later on in the mix with it’s quirky beats and sampled vocals. The mix then ends with some soulful house in the shape of “Kingsburg” by Projections and “Zoology” by Jazztronik.
Still sounds great in the right environment. Think summer hols scrolling down your playlist.
3. Fabric 10 Doc Martin (2003)
The first half of this CD is the best first half of any CD in the collection. The minute you hear the vocals of Markus Enochson ft E-man Musical Prayer you know its going to be special.
The beats slowly build into one of the highlight records of the mix, that being “Dig Deep” by Broker/Dealer, a combination of stunning melodic tones, subtle stabbing synths and intricate drums. The house vibes and vocals of “Second Wind” by Rise Ashen gives the mix a smooth flow while the tribal drums and chants of “AU” by REV take the mix deeper. Brett Johnson’s brilliant “Stucco Homes” gets a twisted reworking from Return of the Ghost while the bouncy baselines and electro drones of DJ Bucks’ “Highlights” is exactly what the name suggests. The sexy “Son of Stitt” by One Decks & Popular closes the mix in interesting fashion.
4. FabricLive 09 Jacques Lu Cont (2003)
Wow. The only FabricLive (friday nights) cd that made the cut but we are so glad it did and it throughly deserves to be up their with the best. It still sounds as fresh today as it ever did, and regardless of what genre of house music you like this is just good on all levels. You feel excited to listen to it and feels you are on a roller coaster.
Starting off with pace, we soon reach Tom Tom Club – Wordy Rappinghood, which is then followed by 303 nonsense with The Chicken Lips – Steppin and then like a curveball thrown at you Steve Miller Band pipes up to give us Abracadabra. We continue in this fashion holding onto the ride and its not until we get to Royksopp – Remind Me than you take a break, regroup and get ready for Eurythmics – Sweet Dreams followed by track of the CD Zoot Woman – Its Automatic.
5. Fabric 03 Jon Marsh (2002)
Some may raise an eyebrow at this one but for us was a time when Fabric was experimenting and Craig was influencing who he wanted to be involved in the early fabric sound.
Jon rose to prominence with The Beloved, a band whose string of late eighties/early nineties chart hits disguised a slow and steadfast route to success. Originally steeped in psychedelia, The Beloved began to feed from the energy of their social surroundings; mid-80s London clubs like Deptford’s ‘Flim Flam’, Noel and Maurice Watson’s Delirium, and Danny and Jenni Rampling’s Shoom. They would become synonymous with dance culture landmarks like the house-meets-ambient ‘The Sun Rising’ and languid list-song ‘Hello’. During the early ’90s Jon began to build a parallel career as a DJ.
Jon starts with kick ass baseline of West Magnetic, Erro’s engaging rhythms and the latent groove of Spook’s ‘Feel Up’. Solo & Logan bring tribal textures, Max Beard offers the soul-soaked ‘Only You’, and the Papa Washington Trio add searing strings in the defiant ‘Calling All Dancers’. Alexander East’s deep, playout, ‘Jest 4 Me’, for me is still one of the best end of night tunes that can be played. A bouncy, dreamy track that say’s its over, for now!
6. Fabric 29 Tiefschwarz (2006)
We all remember where we were when we first heard Claude Vonstroke Whose afraid of Detroit?, well for us we heard it hear and never looked back especially as it followed the monster opening track Louderbach AKA Troy Pierce – Grace (Anxiety) The mood is deep and somewhat ‘calm before the storm’ early on, with the M.A.N.D.Y. remix of ‘Damage’ setting up the album delightfully with some emotive pieces of music. It isn’t long, however, until the mix starts to lift the pace, and it is with Touane’s ‘Bassic’ where the mix really begins to kick on.
What we liked it isn’t a minimal mix and would sound evil on Fabrics sound system. These brothers always knew how to bring it to life. Its peak time and this is evident with Depeche Mode – John the Revelator (tiefscharz dub) late on. followed by Hammer of Thor’ by Riton which has it’s moments of nicely toned melodies and upbeat bounce, there is an underlying sense of darkness amongst sweaty walls, a sound almost synonymous with Fabric.
7. Fabric 41 Luciano (2008)
This was hugely anticipated as he didn’t do mix cd’s at the time and I’m sure fabric spent a lot of time twisting his arm. He had to be special due to his God like status at the time.
It starts deep with fewer elements and slowly it modifies and modulates into something more charged and more rhythmic. I remember listening to it and because it started slow you were left waiting for each to shift gear and in its own way it did. You couldn’t imagine the tracks being played a t peak time in room 1, more back to back with someone on a sunday morning.
Los Updates ft Luciano – Getting Late at track 4 is when it shifted gear and it was a track you don’t forget in a hurry and you lways remember where you heard it. A build of then several melodies and different tones build you up to track 8 Johny D – Orbitlife which quickly became one of our tracks of the year. Julien Jabre – Jungle beats moved you into a different dimension wondering what environment on the planet you would hear this track.
8. Fabric 45 Omar S – Detroit (2008)
This was unique in the fact it was all his own production specific for the fabric mix and if you hadn’t heard his work before this made you sit up and take note. This was voted in RA top mix combination of 2008 and rightly so.
Its a dark underground detroit sound that sounds its a tribute, to the city, to the history and the mix celebrates this throughout. Its very clean, flowing and heard on a good sound system would be appreciated by anyone in the know.
Favourites for us are Oasis 131/2 with its tribal undertones and dreamy vocal and Physoctic Photosynthesis which is a killer with sounds we can’t even describe and won’t try too and lastly us style vocal A victim which is a great house track and could be played anywhere with interest.
This album will never lose any substance.
9.Fabric 75 Maya Jane Coles (2014)
Coles has cut straight to the chase here, and we like that. She grew up in the club, she’s 25years old and so we give credit where its due. It’s barebones techno, for the most part, relying on percussive beats and simple melodic vocals. We love Mathew Johnson Level 7 ‘dixon’ remix and and DJ Yellow & Flowers ‘no one gets left behind’ which papa sven has been closing cocoon with all year.
Reviews weren’t amazing, but this is her style, it came from the heart with substance and has her unique sound. She hasn’t tried to do anything more of less but capture the essence of room 1 at peak time with a multi culture techno crowd going wild as they enjoy her almost young cult like status.
She thumps out the back end of the CD, and you could be at a festival, berlin, big room or small, but it carries you, it doesn’t wobble and for that she goes into the top 10.
10. Fabric 35 Ewan Pearson (2007)
In a world where mixes are two a penny, and plenty cost even less than that, many listeners are lost in the first five minutes. But with that arresting drumbeat, the beginning of Sassé and Ata’s ‘Robert Johnson 6AM X-Ray Italo Rework’ of Jahcoozi’s ‘Ali McBills’, there’s no danger of that here.
From there Pearson ups the pace, from Marc Houle into the industrial funk of Gui.Tar’s ‘Push In The Bush’ These are followed by Konrad Black’s ubiquitous remix of Snax, then the unlikely mix of Jens Zimmermann’s percussive, Villalobos style ‘Tranquilité into Liquid Liquid’s Bellheadd, a transition that works although you wouldn’t think it would.
It embodies many sub genres and isn’t on trend with anyone its just put together with thought given to the club and the clubber listening. We re listened to this lately to see if it passed the timeless test and it past with flying colours.
So there we have it. A honest reflection on 13 years with over 130 realeases. Many could have easily made it into the top 10 (Slam, Ivan Smagge, Adam Beyur, Glimmers, Tyler Stadius, Halo & Hippee, Craig Richards, Steve Bug, Ame, Andrew Weatherall) the list is endless, but onwards and upwards for the next 13 years. !!