You'd be hard pressed to better encapsulate the reductionist house and techno movement of the mid '00s than via Magda's 2006 mix She's a Dancing Machine. Scattershot synthesis, darkened pads, drums so tight they squeaked; the release brooded with a kind of robot-driven potency that was equal parts machine and groove. It felt like an aural slap to the face: "This is here and now." So naturally the question mark surrounding Magda's mix for the evergreen Fabric series, is whether she would attain those previously scaled heights. And, perhaps just as importantly, how her innate sonic persuasion would come over in a much-altered electronic music landscape.
On absorbing fabric 49, what becomes abundantly clear is that Magda is once again taking aim at your hips. Sure, she'll use a burst of static instead of a bongo. Or a tremulous pitch bent synth in place of a major 7th chord. But much like the innumerable proponents of the current deep house escapade, her primary objective stems from establishing a groove, and burrowing into it.
And also similarly to its predecessor, fabric 49 sees Magda take a patchwork approach to its construction by layering as many as three tracks to create a singular whole. Outwardly non-conventional meetings between Goblin and Marc Houle; Circlesquare and Gaiser; Arsenal and Bruno Pronsato all fare remarkably well in their own right, but things become a lot less clear when unreleased material from Madato, Bootsy and Droors bleeds into tracks from the Minus stable. It's best then to think of such compositions in terms of their presented whole, rather than attempting to pick apart its component pieces, which is presumably what Magda would have intended anyway.
If you're one for overarching atmospheric themes, in this case I would offer you "dank." Cuts like Catorze, Marc Houle and Hearthrob's union do poke their heads above the fog, but all too often things become weighted down in a sort of turbid minimal soup. Artem Folevski and Isomer Transition's huddle, followed by a double-header between Hobo and Luciano, threatens to take the mix down a cul-de-sac named Bleep Street. But for every overly robotic passage, a period of respite rescues your attention—case in point the next number, which marries Marc Houle's post-disco-esque "Profounding," with Yello's boisterous "Heavy Whispers" to considerable effect. That said, fabric 49 often feels a little like sitting in one of those Japanese sushi-go-round restaurants; and by the time Jimmy Edgar and Jan Jelinek arrive on the carousel for the final offering, you can't help but wish more of the dishes were equally as satisfying.
It's difficult not to evaluate Magda's efforts against a backdrop that has changed drastically since 2006. Many of the themes from three years ago present themselves again here, but of course, with the passage of time comes ennui. If you're the type of listener who likes their groove-based club music sculpted at the minimal school of sound design, then you're unlikely to find a more exciting mix this year. However, the issue for those from outside the bracket, is that the intrinsic qualities that made She's a Dancing Machine so essential back then, don't feel half as vital right now.
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Tracklist: Magda - Fabric 49 01. Goblin – Al Margini Della Follia / Bostro Pesopeo – Falls (Hercules & Love Affair Remix) / Marc Houle – Voices
02. Circlesquare - Non-Revival Alarm / Gaiser – mfnstmp
03. Magda - At The Gate / Artem Folevski - Empörung (Original Mix) / Groupshow – It’s Not Just Country Birds That Are Attracted (To The Blue Glass Bird Bath)
04. Cristian Vogel - Mungo / Magda - Draculan Love Attack
05. Goblin - Buio Omega (Alternate) / Magda - Moroder's Revenge
06. Catorze – Luscofusco / Marc Houle - Deep Sea / Heartthrob - Miss Pig
07. Robert Babicz – Chordy / Madato - The Night's Rumors
08. Click Box - Bad Fish (Magda Edit) / Boosty – Telescope
09. Artem Folevski - Guido / Isomer Transition - San Pellegrino
10. Hobo - 23:59 / Luciano – Saulitude
11. Marc Houle – Profounding / Yello – Heavy Whispers
12. Heartthrob – 101 Loop / Farben – Aufschlag/Abschlag
13. Hobo - Mobius Trip / Rafael Droors – Blue
14. Bruno Pronsato - We Were... / Arsenal – The Coming (Idjut Boys Version 2)
15. Jimmy Edgar - Beat Squared / Jan Jelinek - Tierbeobachtungen (Live Played By Anne Westphalen & Peter Ley)
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