It is perhaps something of a risk for Fabric to have chosen Agoria to mix Fabric 57 so soon after the disappointment of Balance 016 and while he's in the midst of promoting a new album. It would have been easy to say that there's just a bit too much Agoria going around at the moment. Nothing could be further from the truth, however, as Fabric 57 is a return to (mix CD) form for Sébastien Devaud, on par with his much lauded At the Controls mix from 2007.
A scan of the tracklist would suggest that not much has changed between Devaud's last three mixes: the eclectic selection of a pure audiophile, he ranges from the Not Not Fun label, overlays of jazz and cushions it all with a sleek underbelly of vocal-driven minimal house and Detroit techno classics. Things kick off directly with the optimistic splashes of Rene Löwe's "Ranges," but within a matter of seconds it finds new feet with the percussive squals of Ensemble Economique and the uplifting Beach Boys meets Popol Vuh-styled vocals of Zodiac Free Arts Club. STL's "Silent State" is up next and the mix never looks back from there.
The opening sequence introduces the plot, a somewhat woozy adventure that feels like a tale of spiritual discovery. The mood of Fabric 57 is always heady, but calm, searching and experimental without being intellectual. The generous use of voices from different eras, styles and cultures is both humanistic and comforting, like listening to a guru or teacher. Vocalist Mimu even intones "One soul, one peace, one journey" during dOP's remix of Clara Moto as if to make the point clear.
Taken as a tale of discovery, there are two telling peaks of enlightenment. The first is Argy's remix of Agoria's own "Heart Breaking" which shimmers urgently like an impatient mirage and brings to a close the first run of tracks. Kid A's vocals are affecting and reminiscent of Björk, but perhaps even more so of a female Arthur Russell, who himself makes an appearance on Lil Tony's remix of Treehouse.
The second peak comes soon after with two remixes of "Speechless" from Agoria's recent Impermanence album. The key here is a certain absence of vocals, with Carl Craig's sleazy lyrics diminished in the suitably named "Whisper Dub" and Radio Slave's "Panorama Garage Remix." Back to back the two tracks take up a relatively large proportion of the disc and are supplemented by vocals by Sun Ra and more subtle layers of guitar noise from Ensemble Economique.
The only downside of Fabric 57 is—arguably—the run in to the conclusion. The two versions of Carl Craig's remix of Maurizio's "Domina" often clash, oscillating between working and not working, complicated in particular by the added orchestral layers on the Ruff Mix arranged by Francesco Tristano. It is eventually the strings and horns that triumph, leading to a coda or epilogue of Ella Fitzgerald that somehow seems more elegant and peaceful after the temporary maelstrom preceding it. Indeed, as Ella's voice fades into memory, the overall sensation of having listened to Fabric 57 is of arriving home after a journey feeling cleansed, reinforced and refreshed.
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Tracklist: Agoria - Fabric 57 01. Vainqueur - Ranges - Theme / Ensemble Economique - Real Things / Zodiac Free Arts Club - Ein Lied Für Popol Vuh
02. STL - Silent State / Blacmale - Golden Day
03. Moritz von Oswald / Tony Allen - Ole Remix / Ella Fitzgerald With The Buddy Bregman Orchestra - Night And Day
04. Sydenham & Joe Claussell - Rhythm
05. Clara Moto - Deer & Fox (539.6 East Street dOP Remix) / Lil Tony - Treehouse (Lil Tony Remix)
06. Canyons - Blue Snake
07. Agoria - Heart Beating (Argy Tension Remix)
08. DJ Kaos - Horny Morning Loop (Drdunkskaoticmix) / DJ Tazz - Unrestrained
09. Eisbär - Subspace Two
10. Space Dimension Controller - Mercurial Attraction
11. Agoria feat. Carl Craig & La Scalars - Speechless (Whisper Dub) / Sun Ra And His Mythic Science Arkestra - Somebody Else's Idea
12. Agoria feat. Carl Craig & La Scalars - Speechless (Radio Slave Panorama Garage Remix feat. Tom Gandey)
13. Infiniti - Game One
14. Cottam - Cottam4 - Side A
15. Mark E - Belvide Beat
16. Cottam - Sunrise Sunset
17. José James - Blackmagic (Izmabad 118 Remix)
18. Carl Craig - Dominas (Carl Craig Mix)
Versus Carl Craig - Dominas (Ruff Mix)
19. Various - fabric 57 Puppets
20. Ella Fitzgerald With The Buddy Bregman Orchestra - Night And Day
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