The real tie that binds this crew together is hard work and a throwback attitude to the music industry. Perhaps the most important of these old-school values is the idea of not biting someone's style. You'd be hard-pressed to say that any of the artists that Levon Vincent features on his debut commercial mix CD, fabric 63, sound like anyone else but themselves. Even the aforementioned Parasole, whose "Tyson" represents a long-awaited first step into original solo productions, is instantly identifiable as something different than DJ Qu, Black Jazz Consortium and Vincent. These are artists that think long and hard about whether their music is a bit too close to this or that—and adjust accordingly.
The undoubted star of Vincent's mix is the man himself. Seven of the 15 tracks bear his name. ("I had my release schedule for 2012 in the can so I just kind of appropriated it," he told us earlier this year.) Like Villalobos and Omar-S before him, there's little problem with this: Vincent's sound is completely unique, and there are plenty of people salivating at the thought of new material from him anyway. For those who aren't familiar, it also serves as a great introduction to his stomping, big-riffed techno, and proves that the Roland Space Echo has many moods locked in its green-plated interior. Vincent has utilized the machine on almost every track he's penned over the past few years. It's part of his sound signature. Even his tender deep house selections sound like an alternate dub techno history.
The previously unheralded Joey Anderson is the other name to emerge from fabric 63. Nearly every track is stellar on the mix, but Vincent purposefully showcases the Inimeg boss' "Earth Calls" in what sounds like its entirety to pay his respect to one of his favorite producers. Hearing it and the later contribution, "Hydrine," you almost begin to believe the mysticism comment. "Earth Calls" sounds like dread itself, while "Hydrine" pulses with an almost frightening urgency.
Even after listening to it a while, it's hard to wrap your head around fabric 63. Vincent's journey isn't the typical "start slow, ramp up, climax, come down" DJ mix. There are stops, starts and resets throughout. He mixes DJ Qu's frenetic "Times Like This" straight into the eight-minute build of "Fear." He stops Parasole's "Tyson" in its tracks with the brooding deep house of "The End." It could be that it's hard as hell to put this collection of tracks together in any other way. Or it could be that, as a DJ, he didn't want to bite anyone else's style. Either way, there's no questioning the amount of work he undertook to get here. fabric 63 is the sound of an artist with nothing to prove, and another gem in Vincent and fabric's enviable catalogues.
Fri / 4 May 2012
Todd L. Burns
01. Joey Anderson - Earth Calls
02. DJ Jus-Ed - Blaze (Do Dah Dab Mix)
03. JM De Frias - Intrinsic Motivation
04. Levon Vincent - Stereo Systems
05. Levon Vincent - Polar Bear
06. DJ Qu - Times Like This
07. Levon Vincent - Fear
08. Levon Vincent - Double-Jointed Sex Freak II
09. Joey Anderson - Hydrine
10. Anthony Parasole - Tyson
11. Levon Vincent - The End
12. Black Jazz Consortium - Blacklight
13. Levon Vincent - Early Reflections
14. Levon Vincent - Rainstorm II
15. Black Jazz Consortium - Far Away