Review: FABRICLIVE 100 – Kode9 & Burial

Two of London’s most influencial artists of recent times, Kode9 and Burial, join forces to close the FABRICLIVE compilation mix series with the 100th edition. The Waveform Transmitter‘s Ste Knight takes a listen to an incredible mix.

Given that Fabric has been a brand that, through its club nights and record label releases, has truly fostered the many diverse sounds that make up the electronic music spectrum, from hip-hop, through techno, dubstep, house, and d&b, it makes sense that they would employ the services of two of London’s most influential producers to close out their incredible FABRICLIVE series. While it is sad to see the series come to a close, the brand have decided to finish with a record that pulls together the many facets of electronic music, all of which have been represented amidst the walls of their iconic nightclub. Be it dubstep, breakbeat, jungle, or drum and bass – you will find plenty of gems on this release.

To say that Kode9 and Burial have changed the landscape of electronic music is an understatement. Kode9 kicked off his Hyberdub label back in 2004, carving his own niche in the bass music genre, and in the process earning him and, by extension, his label, a huge cult following. Likewise, the enigmatic producer, Burial, who released his first, eponymous album via the label in 2006, has consistently produced totally unique music, with sonics that have quickly become recognisable tropes of the dubstep and wider bass music sound. This individuality has led to him becoming one of the leading figures within the genre, launching it to a global audience, rather than just remaining within the confines of the UK capital from which dubstep originally emanated.

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As mentioned earlier, FABRICLIVE 100 is a showcase for a wide range of sounds. Bringing together the likes of techno legend, Luke Slater, experimental electronics expert, Vladislav Delay, and the ever-leftfield Ben Frost, the pair have not only illustrated how electronic music is diverse in itself, they have also represented the sound on a global scale; no mean feat considering they have packed so much into their 74 minute time limit. Africa, Japan, Australia, and the UK are all given airtime, which just goes to show how far Kode9 and Burial‘s tentacles reach. Not only that, but is also demonstrates how the international scene influences their sound. FABRICLIVE 100‘s intentions, therefore, are twofold. A nod towards the many affectations that outsiders have had on the pair’s sound, and also an illustration of just what makes the two artists so pivotal in electronic music as it stands today.

Obviously, as neither artist bends to will, the mix is perhaps totally different to what the listener might expect to hear from the two. Sure, you’ve got music that sits within the tempo range that is idiosyncratic to their genre, with plenty of dubstep going on, but you also have blistering jungle assaults with more amen than you could possibly hope for. Hell, you’ve even got trance cutting a swathe through the mix; something which we are almost certain will send a shiver down the collective spine of the Burial purists out there. Durban’s gqom, a South African spin on house music, gets an airing (which is almost certainly down to Kode9, given his inclusion of this style of music on his 2010 DJ Kicks effort), as does techno, courtesy of the aforementioned Luke Slater track, I Can Complete You, which is taken from his 2002 album, Alright On Top, released via the Mute imprint.

Throwing curveballs into the set, and putting together more of a sound collage than what the “traditional” mix journey offers, certainly furnishes us with something totally distinct – even contrasting – compared to what has been seen before with the FABRICLIVE series. Pushing the envelope is what KODE9 and Burial have been doing since they first entered the public conscious, and so it stands to reason that they would continue along this zig-zagging trajectory with this mix. While the intentions of both artists may well have been to raise eyebrows, through both track selection and track order, what remains is an accomplished selection that defines Fabric‘s mix series in much the same way that both producers have defined an era in dance music that is irrefutably theirs.

Author: Ste Knight

Editor at The Waveform Transmitter. Lover of acid basslines, cavernous kick drums, and dark rooms. Cut his teeth to Surgeon's blistering techno assault at T-Funkshun in Liverpool and hasn't stopped for breath since.

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