The fabric Birthday has become something of an annual pilgrimage for certain bodies in the Crack office, and this year was no exception – the annual line-up of heavyweights proved way too much of a draw for us to be anywhere else on this particular Sunday afternoon.
Arriving at the club just after midday (a full 12 hours into the party) was a decision that felt completely justified, with birthday mainstay Ricardo Villalobos pushing out pulsing, abstract techno textures. The last two hours of his first set of the weekend are a rough and tough selection, ending with Aphex Twin’s Heliosphan and a rather dubious Richard X bootleg of Whitney Houston and Kraftwerk. All that, plus the odd obligatory clanged mix: it was the Villalobos we all know and love on birthday party form.
Onwards, and Apollonia’s primetime afternoon set delivers exactly what we’ve come to expect from the French three-way as time becomes little more than insignificant. The night’s programming allows for the top bar balcony area above fabric’s Room One to become the prime area for meeting people, socialising and enjoying the full picture of the dance floor cloaked in the ever-varied lighting formations of the club.
The musical highlight came in the form of Paranoid London’s acid techno wig-out, the same wig-out that has been receiving praise over the course of the last year in particular. The duo’s mantra is to very much to let their music do the talking. Very little background information has ever emerged on them so their live performance comes replete with a level of rawness and mystery. Tough machine music that pulverises – oh and did we mention they come complete with an MC? Techno with an MC in a cowboy hat. With the idea of cool completely removed we’re in a position to offer the opinion that we haven’t seen a live electronic act bang quite this hard in a very long time.
Prosumer’s two hours that follow are perfectly pitched groovers that do the extremely difficult job of taking us back down from the acidic headiness, before the inevitable B2B2B2B2B follows the second outing from Ricardo Villalobos. The inclusive vibe that ends the night is wholly symptomatic of a London clubbing institution that still commands reverence from those at electronic music’s top table as well as the punters who’ve just packed the venue for the best part of 30 hours.