By the time you’re reading this Jamie Jones and his Crosstown Rebels associates will be on their way back from the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert. It used to be rockstars who held us in thrall of their enviable, free roaming ways, now it’s a certain tribe of young DJs who should be the focus of any vicarious living you might have a tendency to. The party continues globally: from megacities to rural festivals and liberal outposts at the edge, like Burning Man. Freer than any rock band tour, and without the commercial trappings and mainstream tie-ins of early DJ superstars like Mr Oakenfold, these days, the likes of Jamie Jones, Damian Lazarus, Seth Troxler and many more are free to travel the world, genuinely in love with the dance music they play, pollinating scenes and musical influences as they go.
This Fabric mix is a belter, one of the best in Fabric’s long history of compilations. I’ve lived with it for a couple of weeks now: on headphones dodging traffic with the volume on full; played through the home speakers at high moments and low; and it took me back to when house music compilations were the soundtracks to your life and friendships, and not something to be discarded for the next download. Virtually every track has had its moment as my favourite. What’s remarkable is how fresh it sounds yet how completely respectful of dance music heritage it manages to be. A great house music set has always been about surprising the listener: through juxtaposition; often through pop played out of context and at the core – the visceral energy of electronic beats with deep emotional content.
I expected something heavier from Jamie Jones, perhaps leaning towards minimal, definitely tech-ier. But overall, this album has a gentler though persistent energy, with a dark pop sensibility at its heart.
It’s all about the mix with this one, but inevitably, certain tunes stand out: God Sent by Cajmere feat Jamie Principle’s camp glory; Felix Da Housecat’s eternally deadpan Madame Hollywood; the deep sexiness of jennygoesdirty’s Amoreux Solitaires; Hot Nature’s hymn to house Assimilation and Crazy P’s impressively disco Open for Service. Of particular note are three of the final tracks of the album: Oppenheimer Analysis’ incredible, early-80s original The Devil’s Dancers (Google them!); contender for ‘best track’ soho808’s genuinely uplifting Get up Disco with it’s sublime female vocal; and album closer, Footprintz’ dark, Depeche-like Fear of Numbers.
Buy and listen to this album, it may not be morphing the edges of dance music or creating more micro-scenes-within-scenes, but the content clearly comes from real feeling and is the soundtrack to a life you’d love to be living.
Words - Colin Chapman