If his own music didn’t give you enough of an indication, with it’s whimsical at times folktronic warmth, producer/ electronicist Keiren Hebden (aka Four tet) isn’t afraid to become a little nostalgic from time to time. His Fabric mix is very much this, wiping a tear from the eye as he casts his ears way back (over 15 whole years) to the mid 90’s two step/ garage scene that he grew up around. Confining his music to one scene is an interesting approach on a mix cd, though it’s this reasonably focussed containment that makes it seem less like a Four Tet flight of fancy and more important as some form of historical document. Yet to be fair, many of these tunes are now out of print and were pretty obscure even to those immersed in the music at the time.
Lending an almost method acting rigour to his approach, Hebden intersperses field recordings from the Fabric club between his selections, the breaks always seeming to come at the rights times, and even cuts his own (some unreleased) tunes onto acetate so every tune (which is all on vinyl) retains its sonic authenticity.
It’s an unashamedly club mix that forces you to really appreciate subtle differences, allowing you to peer between the skittering beats and discover that melodic heart pulsing within. Whist big names like Burial, Caribou, himself, and even stranger Ricardo Villalobos appearing, even STL’s Dark Energy, an acid infused minimal house tune that is an absolute cracker, there are numerous lesser known obscure artists that tear your face off. And that’s the beauty, the mix evolves, from skittery 2 step beats into more techno late night orientated fare.
Aside from Four Tet’s incredible album closer locked, the highlight is his previously unreleased mix of Crazy Baldheads First born (the original mix also appears), where behind the frenetic bluster of percussion these gentle tinkering run of keys lurk, almost like they’re blowing in the breeze, and it just feels right.