Win Shackleton Fabric 55



The 55th instalment of fabrics matchless CD series comes from the unique British bass producer
Shackleton. The self-effacing Lancashire-born Sam Shackleton first came to prominence during the early rise
of the dubstep scene, running the label Skull Disco alongside Appleblim. Skull Disco is considered to have
been quite influential, in that it combined more abstract or avant musical forms with music that could work
on advanced dancefloors. It was home to Shackletons cuts such as Stalker, Death Is Not Final and Blood
On My Hands, reworked by Ricardo Villalobos into an 18 minute four to the floor version. Most recently he
released 3 EPs on Perlon, a Berlin label renowned for its low key approach to high creativity. From dubstep
to techno, Shackleton’s maverick take on big basslines and complex beats doesn’t fit into any easy categories
and that’s how it’s going to stay. Shackletons records and live sets are thrilling and unique in their absorbing
complexity and pure dancefloor enchantment.

I got into making music on a computer by default. My previous partner in music
went to the other side of the world and converted to Islam, and I didn’t want to be a
one-man karaoke outfit so I bought a computer. This turned out to be a good thing
for me as it made it easier to make the music that I wanted to make. Mine and my
friend’s lives had a diverse soundtrack, but I remember that Stooges, Can, Throbbing
Gristle, Kraftwerk and Faust were all favourites. To be honest, I haven’t really moved
on from that stuff. I started playing guitar in a punk band at 14. We were not very
good and got booed off stage and things thrown at us. Plus a change, really!

fabric 55 is a timely record of Shackleton’s electric live performances, recorded in the studio but directly
inspired by the fabric floor. The mix features partly new and unreleased original material – as well as tracks
that have previously appeared on Perlon, Skull Disco and Hotflush, but in very different forms than the
listener will have heard before. Rising out of the murky opening atmospheres are Shackletons favoured
tribal drums and percussion that rapidly kick things into action. Refined sub-bass underpins much of the
music here, alongside ceaseless drums, ominous vocal samples and layers of precise hisses, bleeps and
mournful melody. Key to Shackletons sound is a lightness of touch and delicacy in the arrangement that
could be at odds with the force of his sound but instead illuminates the different parts and awakens the
senses. At times seriously freaky and twisted, with frantic percussion and jarring keys, theres an allencompassing
deepness to the whole as Shackleton weaves a path that completely absorbs up to the final
sigh of the closing bars. Its a mix that instantly captures the listener and barely lets up before finally
releasing you after 80 minutes of some of the most deep, intense and beautiful electronic music you are
likely to hear this year.

I never thought that fabric would be interested in my music to be honest and so it
was a pleasant surprise when they asked me to play in room 1, back before most
other London venues would touch me, or indeed had probably heard of me. It was an
even more pleasant surprise for me that some people enjoyed it. Ive since been
asked back quite regularly and every time it seems to go better. I think this is
because of the sound system. It is amongst the best I have played on…. With the mix
Ive made, I have tried to make a set that would best represent the set I played on
that night [at fabric], but minus the mistakes. Some of the tracks are re-jigged
versions of older material, some of them are new. Some of them will never see a
release in any form aside from this. Some of them are not even tracks just
coincidental parts merging with each other between tracks. Those are the best bits
actually. I don’t expect everyone to like it. I know it is not to everyone’s taste.
That’s why I appreciate Judy sticking her neck out for this and I hope some people
like it.