Fabriclive 93

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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares

Fabric mixes always feel like they test the mettle of the artists making them, revealing deeper levels to their methods and personalities. Fabriclive 93 is no exception: The mix format allows Dan Snaith to play with the form of Daphni's functional dance music with results that are even more hypnotic and kinetic than on the project's debut, Jiaolong. Along the way, Snaith solves the DJ's eternal question -- what comes next in the mix? -- by making his own tracks as well as a few edits of existing songs. A few other talents have taken this tack for their Fabric mixes (Ricardo Villalobos, Shackleton, Omar-S), but it's still an unconventional approach, and in Snaith's case, a particularly rewarding one. As he digs through the crates of his instincts and knowledge, he creates a distinctive hybrid of a mix and traditional album that plays to Daphni's strengths. He explodes and expands everything that made Jiaolong compelling, allowing himself plenty of room for driving cuts like "Face to Face"; house and techno workouts such as "Carry On" and "Try," and more far-flung ideas like "Poly"'s rippling synths and "Ten Thousand"'s chromatic percussion excursion. Elsewhere, Snaith lets the melodies that took a back seat on Daphni's debut come to the fore on "MedellĂ­n" and "Life's What You Make It," which nods to pop without actually being pop. Though Fabriclive 93 isn't quite as danceable as a more typical mix (or Jiaolong), its spontaneity generates lots of excitement. Meanwhile, Snaith's remixes feel like landing points within the rest of the album's freeform wandering. His edits of Jamire Williams' "Futurism" and Pheeroan akLaff's "3 in 1" define the rattling but nimble beats he uses elsewhere, just as his versions of Container's "Dissolve" and Luther Davis Group's "You Can Be a Star" share the celebration of rhythm and melody that he expresses more abstractly on his own tracks. As a whole, Fabriclive 93 is kaleidoscopically fascinating, but there are still standout moments. These include a brief appearance by Daphni's Indian pop-meets-electro 2015 single "Vikram," the addictively abrasive "Hey Drum," and the brassy disco of "vs." Most impressive of all, though, is how Fabriclive 93 feels like a perpetual loop of creativity. Not only is it a special volume of Fabric's impressive series, it's a living piece of music that presents Daphni at its most vital.

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