Sam Shackleton masked the significance of his first full-length by titling it Three EPs. Here, he does something similarly perverse; rather than use the Fabric platform to show off his record bag, he pulls a Villalobos (Fabric 36) and mixes his own productions -- 12 new tracks and ten exclusive versions. When heard from a distance, or with an extreme preference for genre-hopping mixes tailored for short attention spans, Fabric 55 can sound just like a 74-minute stream of directionless pitter-patter. There is no buildup. So, there is no peak, and therefore no comedown. There’s no standard boom-tick, either. It’s more like a psychedelic labyrinth of sinewy percussion and mind-bending, reverb-augmented effects, one in which unintelligible whispers, spectral chants, and clearly spoken bits -- like a woman reading from the Book of Revelations -- occasionally poke through. The titles, whether vivid ( “Moon Over Joseph’s Burial”) or blunt (“Massacre”), reflect the ominous sonic disposition, and when locked into the grain of these restlessly shifting layers of percussion, the effect is exhilarating. Had Shackleton been releasing this kind of material in 2002, he might have been classified as tribal microhouse. In the strictly descriptive sense, Fabric 55 is abstract sample-based dance music, but it’s an utterly unique strain that defies easy categorization.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman