James Lavelle contributes his installment of the FabricLive series, a series of mix albums showcasing Fabric, a popular London-based club that opened in 1999. The title is somewhat deceptive, as this disc merely exemplifies what Lavelle spun during his residency there, rather than providing an actual live set. Throughout the course of 70 minutes, the Mo' Wax honcho runs through a selection that looks more diverse on the cumbersome packaging than it actually sounds. That's both a credit and a discredit at the same time; it's impressive to see Lavelle move from the heavy breaks of South's "Broken Head II" to Bushwacka!'s zipping "Feel It" in such a short frame of time (while starting it all off with the blue-eyed soul/psych of Rare Earth's "Get Ready"), but it still comes off as being rather safe. (Other tracks come from the Chemical Brothers, DJ Shadow, Green Velvet, Howie B., and Radiohead.) The very slight arc of the set, which can be visualized by flattening a piece of paper that was once folded in half, seems to have been planned out prior to the selection of any of the tracks; there's the very gradual build to bangin' fare, and then there's the very gradual recline back into the laid-back. As someone who has been a DJ since his adolescence, Lavelle is undeniably an accomplished and seasoned figure behind the decks. However, for all the lunges made in the name of diversity, FabricLive.01 is more like a drive through the middle of Ohio than the roller coaster ride it could have been.
by Andy Kellman