Fabric is the little London megaclub that could, having taken a sizeable chunk of Global Underground’s DJ-mix market share in recent years. Unlike the latter’s jet-setting jaunts and exotic themes, Fabric is content to have its marquee names drop their epic sets within this one single locale.
Up at bat on the 1’s, 2’s and sometimes 3’s for this collection is John Digweed, a household name in the dance community for his work with Sasha and as a solo party-set purveyor. Digweed fits all the criteria of a big-name DJ: he’s traveled the world commanding five-figures-per-gig paydays, he can drop seamless marathon mixes at will and he’s got the respect of his peers. But even with all the talent, celebrity and solid rep behind him, Digweed has rarely felt looser and grittier than he has on this Fabric release. This isn’t a transcendent set to warm the blowing-up crowds at Creamfields, but a deeper, darker journey in a more intimate environment.
Going back to his UK roots, playing for several hundred mad hatters in a sweaty, throbbing club, Digweed feels right at home with this array of bumping electro, tech-house and acid funk. It isn’t easy condensing a 5-hour set into a 75-minute compilation, especially with an artist of Digweed’s caliber. But this aural snapshot ably signifies that Digweed is an underground club DJ first and foremost. After the usual slow build-up, the record’s arc is officially traced beginning with Rasoul’s “True Science,” a reverberating pinch of jazz backed by deep house. Digweed quickly hits his stride with the robo-disco of Bobby Peru’s “Venom,” soon followed by Slam’s “Lie to Me,” which is given the 80s Depeche Mode treatment by Freestyleman.
As is to be expected from an edited-for-record release like this, the music doesn’t trail off and recede to a wailing chorus of applause and rapture. Digweed’s party continues on though the last track, Matrix & Danny J’s techno odyssey “Vertigo.” While the ending leaves you wanting a more euphoric ending, Fabric has nonetheless done a solid job representing the rhythm n’ stealth of John Digweed. Now that he’s taken a pit stop to rediscover the London club scene, Digweed can get back to the worldwide travels, press coverage, champagne toasts and VIP booths that surely await him.