Dave Clarke

Fabric 60

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John Peel reportedly dubbed Dave Clarke "the Baron of Techno," but his stylistic range is quite a bit broader than that. On his contribution to the now-venerable Fabric series, Clarke manages the impressive feat of ranging all over the place while maintaining a unifying thematic mood throughout, and that mood is dark -- if you're looking for happy-face glow-sticks-and-pacifiers techno, you'll want to go elsewhere. On Fabric 60, Clarke shows a strong tendency toward gothic-tinged minor-key chord environments (Raudive's "Shiver"), foreboding and often indecipherable spoken word vocals (Cristiano Balducci's "Pride," "I.D.F.D.F.I." by Ray 7 and Malik Alston), and relentless machine beats often colored by rather grim and even Teutonic atmospherics (note in particular the fun but rather chilling "Aufstand" by Gesaffelstein). Tommy Four Seven's "Armed 3" is constructed out of a muttering groove punctuated by a thudding house beat and snare hits that sound like rifle shots, while the Heuristic Audio remix of Sync24's "We Rock Non-Stop" harks back (unsurprisingly, given its title) to the sounds and beats of vintage hip-hop. Some tracks bustle and grumble while other jerk and quiver with glitchy rhythmic elaboration, and all of it is interesting, even if at times the relentlessness of some of the beats makes for a better dancing than listening experience.

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