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Special Request FabricLive 91 fabric

Growing up on a rural mountainside, the FabricLive series always held mythical status for me. There was no pirate radio, the internet was sketchy at best and my friends and I were years from being able to attend free parties dotted around the county. What we did have, passed on by older boys or stolen from big sisters, were FabricLive CDs.

At some point, breakbeat faded into stagnancy and was subsumed by UK bass in the post-dubstep landscape. But for the first five years of the series, FabricLive was rich with it. True to the cyclical nature of dance music, those big basslines and 130bpm breakbeats began gaining traction again around 2013. Paul Woolford’s Special Request, a project indebted to 90s pirate radio, played no small part in this.

His entry feels like those classic FabricLives I grew up with. The first third could channel the spirit of 2004: from Caustic Window’s classic rarity Cordialatron via very early Plastician, through Dexter’s No More to Special Request’s own Redrum (Thrash Mix), it mirrors the buzz of those earlier contributions to the series.

Dillinja’s seminal Deadly Deep Subs (Remix) steers the mix toward its inevitable jungle-leaning peak. Replicant, one of six new Special Request tracks, wrestles with Rood Project’s Thunder, opening out in cinematic bluster before the final ascent culminating in Nolige’s Adrenaline (2016 Edit). Ambient cuts from the likes of Carl Craig ease the pressure before Abul Mogarde’s gorgeous Desires Are Reminisces By Now closes.

Paul Woolford sublimely cuts in newer tracks with the stone-cold classics FabricLive 91 is built upon. The effect is a distillation of some of the most visceral music from rave culture. It also achieves the rare feat of really capturing the feel of a party set in a studio recording. And it’s a party I’d like to be at.