Both parties may be surprised right off the bat. The opening track, Caspa’s ‘Born to Do It’, is a jam-packed three minutes of swooping, spacey synths, a seven-layer dip of drums and of course that characteristic wobbling bass, with a cheeky cartoon sample to boot. This is clearly not a sound in line with the kind of chin-stroking “dubstepno” that usually gets coverage in RA (Burial, Shackleton, Martyn) or the more sinister depths contained in tracks by producers like Loefah, Mala or Vex’d. But even with its knee-dropping, gangster-grimace bassline, ‘Born to Do It’ is still very much a party-rocking, feel-good track.
Caspa & Rusko keep the brights on for the mix’s stellar start, highlights being the sleazy sax of L-Wiz’s ‘Girl from Codeine City’ and the Tes La Rok remix of Uncle Sam’s ‘Round the World Girls’: sub-shattering bass tempered by a laid-back reggae verse. Then comes the swan dive into the vat of industrial waste that is Caspa’s ‘The Terminator’, a potent stew of self-destruct alarms, revving engines and crunked-up drum kicks that effectively punts the mix into far darker territory than where it started.
But it’s all a bit too dark with tracks bleeding one into the next with no memorable discernment. Wading through the 17 or so tracks that make up the center of FabricLive 37, a few things catch the ear: the distinct, if criminally brief, punch of Distance’s ‘Chest Plate’ that separates his sound from the herd, more than a few samples from Guy Ritchie’s Snatch, and even a little MC Hammer. But apart from these flecks of gold, it’s an overly relentless stream of low-end sludge that could’ve benefited greatly from, say, moving the bouncy Buraka Som Sistema remix of Rusko’s ‘Cockney Thug’ further up the tracklist.
As it stands, that track tips the mix back up into the sun for its last leg, turning first to the dubstep-meets-cheesy-house sound of ‘I’m Lovin’’ by D.I. before settling on Conquest’s stoned-out closer ‘Forever’. But rather than bookending it with the lighter side of dubstep, Caspa & Rusko would’ve better served FabricLive 37 by peppering it here and there with gasps of fresh air. First-time travelers down the genre’s rabbit hole are likely to be turned off by monotonous tide of bass that makes up the meat of this mix.