Bpitch Control boss Ellen Allien has always managed to give techno a melodic, joyful and innocent feel. Be it fragmented and delicate vocals on her album ‘Berlinette’, or the fusion of rough beats and Apparat's strings on last year's awesome ‘Orchestra of Bubbles’, she has a gift for making music that not only rocks but has a unique warmness to it. Thankfully, she's managed to maintain the same aural aesthetic on this excellent mix for Fabric, and has produced one of the best in the series.
The general trajectory of the mix is more upbeat at the start with a monged out middle and dreamy end. The opening of ‘S1’ (Don't believe the chord-pop hype) by Schubert brings things in perfectly with its haphazard crescendo of clicks which last more than three minutes before finally giving way to a beat. The brilliant 'Orderly Kaos' by Don Williams then continues to build things thanks to a lush delayed organ refrain and infectious dubbed out nineties house beats. 'It is Now Either' by Artificial Latvamaki could have come straight off 'Orchestra of Bubbles' and, in the absence of any new OoB material, it makes a very welcome stopgap. The monged out middle comes with Roman Flugel's 'Mutter'. For Alter Ego fans (of which Flugel is one half) this won't be what you'd expect. But bearing in mind his technical ability, trust me when I say that he makes what appears to be a xylophone being played in water over a skippy beat work well. Electronic music doesn't get much dreamier than Apparat so it's fitting the mix ends with one of his tracks, 'Arcadia', from his new album 'Walls'.
One thing that's always interesting on mixes is how many of their own tracks an artist puts on them. Ellen only includes one of her own offerings, 'Just a Woman', wedging it between Thom Yorke's 'Harrowdown Hill' and Ben Klock's 'Journey' - not exactly an obvious trio. You're left with the impression she's doing it for the music and because it sounds good, not to shift units of her own music – which is how it should be. Although 2007 is only halfway gone, I'd venture that if you get this and Optimo's 'Walkabout' you'll be hard pressed to find a better pair of electronic mix CDs this year.
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Tracklist: Ellen Allien - Fabric 341 Schubert - S1
2 Larry Heard Presents Mr. White - The Sun Can’t Compare
3 Estroe - Driven
4 Damian Schwartz - Tu Y Yo (Peros Nos Volvemos A Levantar) (Pilas Remix)
5 Don Williams - Orderly Kaos
6 Melody Boy 2000 - Sound Stealer
7 Artificial Latvamaki - It Is Now Either
8 Cobblestone Jazz - India In Me 2
9 Roman Flugel - Mutter
10 Aste/Maan - Aaltovaihe
11 Thom Yorke - Harrowdown Hill
12 Ellen Allien - Just A Woman
13 Ben Klock - Journey
14 Heatthrob - Baby Kate (Plastikman Remix)
15 Apparat - Arcadia