fabric 69 isn't packed with exclusives or new material. In fact, its tracklist reads like a best-of for techno in the past year. Execution is emphasized over selection. Painstakingly compiled and fastidiously edited by Function with help from Regis, it recalls the intricate quilts Richie Hawtin wove in the late '90s. Right out of the gate, the mix sprints through nine tracks with little discernible change. It's not until Mary Velo's thundering "Detune" that we get a proper chord progression.
"Detune" is the first of many fundamental pivot points for fabric 69, which settles every so often on a major theme before carefully flowing into the next. These anchors are obvious selections for the techno astute—the drawl of Carl Craig's "Darkness," the hornets' nest of Untold's "Motion The Dance," the bubbly frenzy of "Mark Ernestus Meets BBC"—but they aren't exactly the epitome of the Sandwell sound. Rather, they provide the mix's only novel elements and help to fill in the negative space left by all the surgical splicing.
If you're a Sandwell District fan, fabric 69 isn't going to blow your head off. You've heard these guys mix these kind of tunes together before. But you've never heard them do a mix as careful or considered as this one. In the album's press materials, Function claimed he was "encapsulating an era and putting it to rest." If Sandwell District really are dead, then fabric 69 is their epitaph.