Fabriclive 41 comes barely a year after Simian Mobile Disco’s first reluctant commitment to record, last summer’s “Attack Decay Sustain Release”. Maintaining their improvisatory sound, this live mix sees James Ford and Jas Shaw forage through over 40 years of inspiration and emerge with some spectacular stomp-fodder.
The raw material is eclectic, but not random, with ancient rarities (Moondog’s ‘Suite Equestria’ and Raymond Scott’s ‘Cindy Electronium’) accompanying modern techno and house. Tomita’s thick, orchestrated synthesiser intro from 1986’s electronic Stravinsky sets a gleefully menacing tone, followed beautifully with the progressive occult-disco Sisters of Transistors – “The Don”.
The album structure flawlessly reflects its purpose: it’s dance, not especially for listening, driving or learning, but for dancing. Anthemic, inviting tunes dominate the first half, delivered with delicious restraint: a perfect example is in Hercules and Love Affair’s ‘Blind’ where massive, Ibiza synths interject but never play the anticipated clichéd sequence.
The lengthy venture into minimal electro in the second half of the album has some compelling moments where the subtle variation of miniature sequences steers a galloping club beat (Worthy’s ‘Crack El’ and Jelo and Deadmau5’s ‘The Reward is Cheese’) but suffers from dull gaps or disappointing drops following overlong, beatless breaks (Bentobox vs Chordian’s ‘Aemono’). The final section sadly falls short of building fever by adding relentless percussion, abandoning the previous roomy and persuasive grooves.
Despite its disorientated climax, most of Fabriclive 41 is excellent, the consistently immaculate rearrangements throughout the album make this an exhilarating demonstration of compelling dance music.