Damian Lazarus probably likes more music than you. Thankfully, he can't help but want to share it. As a DJ, that's a blessing and a curse. With such wide tastes, it's been hard to pin the Crosstown Rebels label boss down to any one sound. Good for career longevity. Bad for pushing said career to "the next level." But it's his almost uncanny A&R skills that have kept him relevant all these years. And it's undoubtedly why he was selected by fabric for the latest mix in their long-running series celebrating the sound of the London club's Saturday night line-ups.
Lazarus' wandering ear makes for a fascinating tracklist. Four Tet shares space with Ryan Crosson. UK funky maestro Roska and yacht house specialists Soul Clap rub shoulders as well. For the first portion of the mix, it also holds together remarkably well. Somehow the sonic character of Appleblim & Ramadanman's busy house workout "Void 23" flows seamlessly into Claude VonStroke's laidback remix of Kenny Larkin's "Glob" before Lazarus slips in a shout-out to the sound of the club's past with Swayzak's brilliant 2000 cut "Ping Pong." Smooth and assured, the CD warms up in the same way as Craig Richards' Fabric 01.
It's when Lazarus cuts things off, restarting the mix with The Mole's "Nervous Disid" after the epic Massive Attack-sampling "Break 4 Life," that the curse of his taste starts to creep in. The tracks themselves are great and, at times, phenomenal. The easy groove of Deetron's "Sing" never sounded better, Soul Keita & Nicolas Jaar's "Para(sol)" continues to prove that (for the Clown & Sunset duo) a little bit of eclecticism can go a long way. Lee Jones' "Yoyo" is a brooding monster whose guitar (?) solo sounds like a whale valiantly singing jazz through his speech impediment.
Compared to the tightly mixed and quick-moving first half, though, it's less a showcase for Lazarus and more a showcase for his taste. Track lengths balloon and Fabric 54's formerly cohesive feel dissolves into a sort of "have you heard this one?" mixtape that ends with the raw disco of Su Kramer's "Magic Dance" and Bill Holt's curious avant pop. Given that it's an 80-minute mix, Lazarus is more than welcome to share some of his off-kilter favorites at the end. But it's indicative of how Fabric 54 unveils itself to be three-in-one by its end. For listeners, it's likely that'll be both blessing and curse.
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Tracklist: Damian Lazarus - Fabric 54 01. Ryan Crosson - Metro Bunker
02. Four Tet - Love Cry
03. Appleblim & Ramadanman - Void 23
04. Kenny Larkin - Glob (Claude VonStroke Mix)
05. Swayzak - Ping Pong
06. Canson - Sleeping (Demo Version)
07. The Martinez Brothers - Broke In The BX
08. Roska - The Sheppard
09. Soul Clap - Break 4 Life
10. The Mole - Nervous Disid
11. Cajmere - Freaks And Stars
12. Art Department feat. Seth Troxler - Vampire Nightclub
13. Deetron - Sing
14. Guti & Dubshape - Every Cow Has A Bird
15. Soul Keita & Nicolas Jaar - Para(sol)
16. Damian Lazarus - Diamond In The Dark (dOP Remix)
17. Lee Jones - Yoyo
18. Agaric - Run (Ostern Jam)
19. Su Kramer - Magic Dance
20. Bill Holt - Program Ten (Part Five)
21. Bill Holt - Program Ten (Part Six)