James Murphy & Pat Mahoney – FabricLive.36On the first LCD Soundsystem 12”, James Murphy riffed off the idea that the kids were coming up from behind and the “better-looking people with better ideas and more talent” were going to overtake him. That seems a long time ago now. Murphy and LCD drummer Pat Mahoney’s entry in the Fabric series is the type of mix you make when you no longer give a shit whether you’re losing your edge. FabricLive.36 isn’t future-facing at all. Bar the David Byrne and Arto Lindsay downtown art-punk bookends, it’s wholly concerned with the most nostalgic of the dance genres: straight disco, and the type of house music we may as well call disco anyway—the stuff with real percussion, or samples of, and non-synthesised textures. This is a CD that includes a (late-ish) Chic track and what could be a clearer signal of purpose?
As well as Chic, from the “real” disco camp we get a couple of tracks each from the Ze, Salsoul and Vanguard labels. The Isaac Hayes-produced electronic funk of Donald Byrd’s ‘Love Has Come Around’ loops ecstatic falsetto around cavernously reverbed snare and cymbal. The bizarre and glorious ‘I Need You Tonight’ by Punkin’ Machine shifts giddily from a restrained verse to an addictive-as-a-video-game chorus before a kettledrum and handclap breakdown.
Among the best of the more contemporary tracks are the expertly looped sampler detritus of Daniel Wang’s much comped but always welcome ‘Like Some Dream (I Can’t Stop Dreaming)’ and Baby Oliver’s take on the evergreen discoid subject matter (stretching back to Kraftwerk) of the endless glide of the train ride. ‘Primetime (Uptown Express)’ is perfectly pitched electro-disco laden with Art of Noise airy gulps and belches.
Whilst canny in the contrasting of the past and present, FabricLive.36 feels off the cuff—sometimes more like a guest mix from Beats in Space than a Fabric mix. It’s sweaty, goofy, good natured, sexual, daft and one of last year’s best mixes.