In 1999 London nightclub Fabric opened its doors for the first time.
Boasting 25 000 square ft. across three rooms, one of which is equipped with ‘bodysonic’ technology (sections of the floors attached to bass transducers – essentially extra subwoofers built into the floor), the space quickly gained a reputation for throwing forward thinking events with up and coming artists, many of which were (and still are) at the forefront of their genre. In November of 2001 the club began operating as a label of the same name, releasing monthly compilation albums, each of which was assembled by a different DJ. The series’, entitled fabric and FabricLive respectively, are well known for unearthing new trends as well as showcasing some of the biggest names currently contributing to the progress of various dance music genres. The two series, which trade off releases each month, differ by the genres they associate with. The fabric series focuses on more established styles under the umbrella of dance music such as techno & house, while the FabricLive series showcases movements such as dubstep, grime, breaks, drum and bass, and various other sounds that make up the ‘underground’ side of dance music. The success of both compilation series’ also prompted the label to start a regular mix series, further strengthening their ability to bring new sounds to the masses with more freedom than official releases can offer.
Below are a few of my personal favourites.
In 2007, two up and coming UK producers named Caspa and Rusko teamed up for FabricLive.37. Bringing even more attention to the quickly expanding blend of UK-garage, two-step and dub music, this album introduced a lot of listeners outside of the UK to dubstep. Furthermore, this release was surely instrumental in vaulting both Caspa and Rusko to international success and making both of their names synonymous with the genre. With pulsing basslines and hard-hitting shuffle beats, this mix is a great representation of the original intention of dubstep; Reggae-inspired, percussion heavy music with enough bass weight to change your life.
FabricLive.40 features Dutch drum & bass trio Noisia. The trio are basically gods of the drum and bass world, and also host a weekly podcast where they feature a wide variety of interesting and lesser-known bass music (not limited to drum and bass). With incredibly crisp and powerful productions on top of pounding, aggressive rhythms, this edition of FabricLive pushes forward with intensity from start to finish and is surely worth a listen, especially for curious-types who may not have much experience with drum & bass.
Though not all of the releases are recorded live-off-the-floor from Fabric nightclub as some might assume, both the fabric and FabricLive series’ continue to indiscriminately showcase new sounds and movements in the world of dance music. In focusing on releasing mixes that present music in the same way an attendee would experience it in a nightclub (‘licensed rave tapes,’ as Fabric founder Keith Reilly puts it), the series stays relevant and gives a ‘live’ experience to those that are not able to attend events in person. By handing over complete creative control to the artists they feature, the label is easily able to keep up with trends and new sounds. These releases (which are going into their 15th year) have not only become a go-to series for fans worldwide, but have also helped to solidify the name Fabric as being synonymous with progressive and innovative dance music.
I would strongly encourage everyone to take a look at this list of fabric and FabricLive releases, as this post can hardly hope to scratch the surface. Whatever your dance music tastes are, these series’ include something for everyone, and are also a great tool to experiment with new genres, or to get to know an artist. The editions featured in this post are largely dependant on my own tastes and are really just a small window into the wide variety of material that this prolific club and label offer.
That being said, here are a few more recommendations;
Skream Fabric Promo Mix June 2015 (techno)