The Glimmers, on the other hand, have historically done ‘eclectic’ very well. Their previous mixes for Eskimo and DJ Kicks have showcased their encyclopaedic knowledge of disco oddities and interesting remixes, combined into a pleasing mosaic rather than a clueless hodge-podge. Their style is a bass-heavy take on the cosmic/disco/beard/Harvey-biting scene with a dubbier, more repetitive slant than many of their confreres.
The track list for ‘Fabriclive. 31’ gives the first clue, however, that this mix is not going to be one of their best efforts. ‘Din Daa Daa’ and ‘I.O.U.’ are great tracks but are also very overplayed. ‘Disco Infiltrator’ has certainly outstayed its welcome by now too. Overall most of this mix comes across as just that – a little obvious, a little frantically eager-to-please and certainly far too close to the played-out ‘sleazy’ sounds of commercial electrohouse.
There are still some fantastically interesting choices, however, such as Pop Dell’Arte’s campy cover of Adonis’ ‘No Way Back’ (a record that probably rates as the most widely influential on today’s scene – everything from minimal to electrohouse to, of course, disco re-edits owes a debt to this track). Another great oddity is Holy Ghost Inc’s ‘The Word’ (dub), which uses a echoing reggae percussion and slightly cheesy Jamaican samples to create a kind of Euro-alternative to the UK’s old-school hardcore sound.
Unfortunately the Holy Ghost track is also a prelude to the Glimmers committing eclecticism sin number two: the jarring transition. There’s a brutal needle-skating-across-vinyl sound before the sheep drop into JD Twitch’s remix of Sons and Daughter’s ‘Dance Me In’. JD Twitch himself used a Sons and Daughters track in his ‘Psyche Out’ mix a year or two ago, to great effect, against a background of prog-rock and weirdy beardy disco. Here, however, the manic tinny guitars just sound horribly out of place, and the song completely ruins the flow of the mix.
The light at the end of the tunnel, however, is tracks 16 to 21. The Black Dog’s mix of Urban Jungle’s ‘Bad Man’ opens with a pause, seemingly declaring that we’re starting on something new, before dropping in an immense dub bassline and creating an instant sense of space and anticipation. This is punctuated by the actual dub reggae of Black Slate before a return to Urban Jungle, which builds up pace and transitions smoothly into the Batucada rhythms of Howie B’s ‘My Speedboat is Faster Than Yours’. I can’t stress enough what a fantastically imaginative bit of track selection and mixing this is. Why couldn’t the whole CD have been like this? We catch our breath with some spacy funk from Pierre Henry and then it’s into the final (and possibly the best) track on the CD - ‘Monkey Star’ by the Arpadys, which is gorgeous trippy French disco in the same vein as Space’s ‘Magic Fly’.
I can’t help but feel that the Glimmers reined back their sound with this mix to turn in something they felt was more commercially viable. However there are still many interesting tracks and tricks here so if you’re a newcomer to the disco sound, this is a good release to pick up some digging tips from, and learn some new names. Older fans may want to give it a miss.