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Review: Ben Sims - Fabric 73 [Album]

Review: Ben Sims - Fabric 73 [Album]

Fabric | "..possibly one of Ben Sims' strongest releases to date."

Review   1995 Views
Last Edited by: Chris MUG5 Maguire December 18th, 2013.

Since launching 12 years ago, the Fabric/FabricLive series has become something of a benchmark against which most other mixes can be measured. Each of the bi-monthly mixes reflect the high level of standards set by the famed London club and they also capture what's played inside its walls while allowing the DJ or producer responsible for the mix to put on display their best crate-digging capabilities. This month sees the release of the 73rd Fabric installment and for the occasion, the prolific and eclectic London DJ Ben Sims was chosen to curate the mix and frankly, Fabric couldn't have made a better selection.

LISTEN | Alden Tyrell - 'Wurk It'

Citing the Fabric Club as one of his favorite places to play, and taking influence from what he calls the “perfect and elusive” environment of Fabric's Room 2, Sims has created a mix that can transport you into the heart of that room's dance-floor just as easily as it can drop you smack in the middle of your favorite nightspot's dance-floor--this is warehouse griminess in all of its sweaty and dingy glory--the equivalent of the main floor jam-packed on a Saturday night with a couple thousand shadows moving in unison to the propulsive thumps bleeding out of the PA. Sims took a perfectionist approach in putting together Fabric 73; mixing portions of it live and poring over the details, adding edits, and stitching the various parts together in Ableton to form a master mix. Whereas your average DJ mix usually allows for proper breathing space in the form of lower-key cuts sequenced somewhere in between the peak moments, Fabric 73 on the other hand steamrolls its way through 44 cuts in 75 minutes at a near relentless pace. Samples are folded, creased and tweaked then tossed into the tracks in a way that, at times, suggests a party is raging on in an some old dilapidated carnival funhouse. I've heard plenty of mixes like this before where a DJ has attempted to cram as many cuts as they can into a roughly 75 minute space and they've often sounded like a schizophrenic mess.

Part of what's so impressive about Fabric 73 then is how evenly spread out everything is and how Sims' stitch work is precise enough that it's difficult to tell where cuts end and others begin without having to constantly glance at your mp3 player. Also impressive is the tracklist itself: For a near two-decade veteran of the techno scene, Sims bypassed nostalgic crate-digging in favor of including predominately new and unreleased material along with a few of his own personal edits--something he's earned a reputation for. With so many high quality edits and cuts to choose from, even picking out just a few can be difficult, but for me personally, the spastic, less-than-a-minute sugar-rush of his own 'Break Glass'; Sandrien's snide but funky 'I Left My Girlfriend In A Club'; the glitchy tropical groove of Chicago Skyway's 'Ride 3' and Julien H Mulder's 'Symmetric Timeline'--where synths are warped into sounding something like pulsating chimes--rank as some of the best edits here.

LISTEN | Gingy & Bordello - 'All Day' (Robert Hood Remix)

He puts a slight twist on each, giving them a playfully sinister feel without deviating too much from their original forms. Though he uses these edits mostly as transitional bridges, they hold their own and pack as much of a wallop as non-edited cuts like the frenetic acid-house work-out of Alden Tyrell's 'Wurk It'; the soulful tech house of Gingy & Bordello's 'All Day' (given the remix treatment courtesy of Robert Hood) and Mike Dehnert's 'Eigenzeit', which more or less resembles the sound of heavy machinery. Considering how much territory is covered here, Fabric 73 may seem like a daunting listen at first, but it's worth sticking through even if you find yourself having to chug a couple of Red Bull's in the process. And even if you have 75 minutes-worth of time to devote to it, you're bound to discover something new over multiple listens. This not only makes Fabric 73 a strong and worthwhile entry in the series, it also makes it possibly one of Ben Sims' strongest releases to date.

Fabric 73 is out now

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