Opening with "Slagare" from Romanian producer Rhadoo's excellent Dor Mit Oru EP, Fabric 41 limbers up early, with Brothers' Vibe's "El Baile (Acapella)"—a track Luciano's been using in his sets for almost a year now—sifted into Rhadoo's echoing, almost dubby rhythms. The set quickly begins to bounce, passing through D'Julz's "Yo Momo" and Luciano's own remix of Los Updates' oddball anthem "Getting Late," with Jorge González's closed jaw voice bumping up against its clattering beat and squeaky textures. Highlighted here as well are two recent Cadenza releases, the simple jingling warmth of Reboot's "Be Tougher" and Alex Piccone's upcoming "Floppy," which with its elastic sense of melody and muscular bass is one of the disc's early highlights.
But after what almost seems like too fast a start for all its sparse, spacious texturing, Luciano takes a little moisture out of the air with Johnny D's much-discussed hit "Orbitalife," lending a lush expanse to the set's vibrant middle-stretch. On one of the more compelling moments of tonal juxtaposition and counter-texturing, he layers M83's transportive, chilly shoegaze cut "In Church"—another track he's been going back to in his sets lately—over Julien Jabre's steamy "Jungle Beatz." Though it threatens to dry things out a bit on the back of "Orbitalife"'s length, it's a tranquil spell before Tiefschwarz's ominous remix of Phuture's 1992 Strictly Rhythm jam "Rise From Your Grave" shifts the album from its amorous, organic side to its feverish peak stretch—ostensibly the "crescendo" Luciano's spoken of trying to create with this mix. The ghosty, empty-beach tones of Schneider, Galluzzi's new-classic "Albertino" continue this heavy run, feeding into the stinging, rotted-bass of D'Julz's "Just So You Know" before Kenny Larkin's "You Are..." tempers its pace.
Chymera's "Arabesque" closes the set in gentle poise, a well-chosen cap that matches the set's sense of cushiony home-spaces with a hint at reenergizing for whatever comes next. Though much has been made by hardcore Luciano-fans and live set collectors that Luciano's unveiled a pretty stale assembly here—based on tracks played out from his sets or including 'old' standard-bearer Cadenza cuts like "Albertino"—Fabric 41 will sound to most home-listeners, or the many simply not lucky enough to catch Luciano live, as an intricate, season-muggy mix CD from one of dance music's most dependable producers, one which deftly balances its quirks with its more instantaneous appeals.