The much respected mix comp series does an Italian job this time around, inviting Neapolitan producer Marco Carola in for a Fabric mix. Carola is a familiar name to fans of dancefloor driven techno, particularly across Europe, but up until now he has shied away from putting out mix CDs; instead he has built his considerable reputation on the strength of his own productions, and of course his three deck sets. Kudos then to the persuasive people at Fabric for enticing a virgin mix from Carola, although the man himself informs us that he was just waiting for the right time.
‘Minimal' might now be a concept that’s going to haunt us for all eternity, but it would be churlish to suggest that an old hand like Carola is a Johnny-just-come to the genre. So minimal it begins: Carola flexing his tribal instincts on Matt John’s bouncy ‘IO’, which entices us into a groove that keeps us locked in – the goal of any DJ worth his salt. Clicky tribal tappings give way to funkier stuff with Gabriel Ananda's excellent rerub of 'You Got Good Ash', built around chiming bells and dissonant tones, while Paco Osuna's 'Cretine' is typical Carola material with a driving funky bass and wooden rattles: the first of a number of unexpected voids on ‘Fabric 31’. Marc Houle and Audio Werner provide bigger moments which move the mix from playful background listening to an energetic afterparty: both ‘Kicker’ and ‘Onandon’ are slick productions which transport you right to the middle of a dancefloor.
In the closing stages Carola steadies the ship, but not before treating us to weirded out, nonsensical instances from Microfunk and Heartthrob, two names which seem to be popping up all over the place of late. The last word is a sprinkle of melody from Ernie and darkness at the end of the tunnel from Alex Smoke – grains of sand that inevitably slip through our fingers.
Like Carola’s club sets, ‘Fabric 31’ sounds like one 73-minute long track to get inside of. At times it’s a little too sleek for my liking, but there’s enough perk in the tracks to ensure that it stays on the right side of the smooth/bland continuum. That it is Carola’s debut mix CD is reason enough to check it out, but it does enough to keep both Carola’s devotees happy while showing that he's kept abreast of changing times. Managing to fuse minimal du jour, Carola’s style, and most importantly, the groove, ‘Fabric 31’ proves that while many have their fingers on the pulse of European club techno, it takes a perceptive DJ to bring it all together.
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Tracklist: Marco Carola - Fabric 3101 Matt John - Io
02 ErikOtanabE - Eclat and Prudo (Alfa Romero Rmx)
03 Chris Carrier - Sure Shot
04 Marek Bois - You Got Good Ash (Gabriel Ananda Rmx)
05 Fusiphorm - I am...you! (Someone Else Rmx)
06 Timo Anttila - Nakuta
07 Barem - Cilindro
08 Mathias Kaden - Snowman
09 Paco Osuna - Cretine
10 Fraktion - Acidrop
11 Marc Houle - Kicker
12 Audio Werner - Onandon Be
13 Dolly La Parton - Whenever
14 Microfunk aka 2000 and One and Dave Ellesmere - Pecan
15 Details - Change
16 Dario Zenker - newbe (Heartthrob’s are u gay Remix)
17 Ernie - Escarabajos
18 Alex Smoke - Plunder