It seems remarkable that the FabricLive series has got quite so long in the tooth before Erol Alkan – one of the most consistently influential English DJs of recent years - should step into the driver’s seat. If anything, it’s testimony to how far Alkan has come from his early Trash days as, essentially, an indie DJ with added turntable skills. Whilst others have used the FabricLive series to showcase their divergent tastes, Alkan has long moved beyond the need to prove the eclecticism of his record collection- instead he commits to a four/ four groove specifically selected to rock Fabric's Room 1.
“It's influenced by the sight lines from the perspective behind the decks,” he writes, “the lights, the fact that sometimes all you can see are hands reaching into the booth, as well as those behind you dancing alone in the corners.”
Opening with a trio of tracky grooves, echo effects sizzling from left speaker to right like so many wild lazers, the mix really settles into focus with Alkan’s take on The Emperor Machine cut “RM Is All I Want”, a driving disco track twitching with mutant vocals and freaked out squiggles. It’s followed by the discordant steel drums of long time Alkan favourite Zongamin’s remix of Manfredas, before the mix heads once more into the darkness, turning down corridors of acid squelch and percussive rattle.
When Andre Bratten’s ‘Trommer Og Bass’ jackboots in, everything steps up a gear, with Bratton’s euphoric pads and ‘orrible bass stabs indicating a main room intent, and from here on in its heavy electronics all the way – although it’s worth mentioning that an Erol Alkan mainroom track is far wonkier than your standard fare, with synth chords and acid rolls wobbling and detuning, hi hats warping in and out of focus, and those regular excursions into the far edges of the stereo field.
Special mention goes to the closer, an Alkan special bootleg of Saint Etienne’s ‘Only Love Can Break Your Heart’ over his own 'A Hold On Love'. It's a startling mix, sounding something like a long lost Inner City track, and deserves a release in its own right.
Whilst Alkan’s FabricLive mix may not offer many surprises, it does what it does remarkably well, and for those seeking something that combines both the peaktime with the cerebral it’s got all the answers.
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