Fabric 14

Stacey Pullen

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Fabric 14 Review

by Jason Birchmeier

Stacey Pullen's contribution to the Fabric series of mix CDs came roughly eight years after his last mix: his 1996 contribution to the DJ Kicks series. Eight years is a long time for fans to wait, especially when the DJ at hand is as highly regarded as Pullen, so Fabric 14 arrived as somewhat of a godsend. Pullen may not be the most prolific DJ when it comes to commercially released mix CDs, but his in-person DJing is always a sound journey to behold, one not to be missed if provided with the opportunity. He's known to spin for hours on end, especially at home in Detroit, and in doing so, he often covers a lot of ground, albeit steadily. Though Fabric 14 only runs the length of a single disc, a total of 14 tracks, it's sequenced much like Pullen's typical DJ sets -- it steadily builds and builds at a driving pace, occasionally coming to a brief apex or downturn before steadily building and building again. Pullen begins Fabric 14 simply enough with the light tribal tech-house of Cutlab's "Spacey Bongo" and starts moving forward from there. He shifts gears with each successive track, but it's not until about 20 minutes into the mix, when he drops Pure Science's "Get It Back," that he finally shifts into overdrive. It's a dizzying moment, and one that you don't want to end. But end it does as Pullen cools down the mix with Peace Division's "Beatz in Peacez 03," which features a dreamy spoken word segment that comes as a bit of a surprise in the context of this mostly vocal-less tech-house mix. The next highlight comes a few tracks later when Pullen makes a sharp left turn into Moodymann's "Music People" and lets it play out for six and a half minutes of standout uproariousness. The track is a Moodymann classic, and there's a good chance Pullen is putting it down for Detroit here. He can only go downhill from such a peak, and indeed he does, segueing into the sparse tribalism of Men With Sticks' "3rd Eye" and steadily building back up the intensity over the next few tracks. It all culminates when Pullen drops his penultimate track, Dave Angel's "Catch 2," which again features a tribal sense of rhythm, albeit one that is as banging as this mix gets. It's a teeth-clenching, heart-racing five minutes, for sure, and then comes the release, Solid Groove's "Flookin'," a nice, calm finale that is highlighted by some flute, which sounds totally alien within such a context, precisely its charm. Throughout Fabric 14, Pullen never drifts far away from tech-house, and the result is a mix that progresses naturally and seamlessly, characterized not by its idiosyncrasies but rather by its ups and downs. Clearly Pullen has a master's touch, and you can't help but wish that he'd release these such mix CDs more often.

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