Fabric 15

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The 15th Fabric mix comes from Craig Richards, the same DJ who initiated the popular but unreliable series in November of 2001. Richards' return is a two-disc set credited to his Tyrant alias, and it probably best exemplifies the overall sound of the same-named London club that's responsible for the series -- the DJ is a resident there. The biggest risk taken on disc one is that no risks are taken; Richards consciously avoids anything with substantial hooks, not wanting to include anything that the listener might grow tired of after a few listens. As a result, there's 75 minutes of little more than rhythm and texture. The tracks listed on the back read like a good round of selections -- a barrel full of strong productions from German heavies like Perlon, Kompakt, Trapez, Ladomat, and Areal -- yet, when they're all lined up, their potential powers shrivel away, desperately in need of livelier moments to bounce off of. (Look no further than Michael Mayer's Fabric 13 for a clinic in how to build a set.) Compound this factor with very slight tempo variation, and you have a set that's free of anticipated moments and stimulating shifts of mood and tone. The second disc takes a similar approach to a round of tracks that incorporates all things abstract, whether it's techno, electro, or hip-hop -- including quite a few that are hybrids of all three. Hearing Ectomorph, Morgan Geist, Dabrye, Dettinger, and undervalued Detroit pioneer Anthony Shakir, all within close proximity of one another, is a positive change of pace for the Fabric series. However, the sequencing and blends all come off a little too safe to make for the dynamic set that could've been. Still, the whole thing is far from a total loss. Those not familiar with a high percentage of the producers present will likely be sent on a mad record hunt.

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