Since 2001, London’s essential nightclub Fabric has been putting out monthly DJ set compilations, alternating the Fabric And FabricLive series. For FabricLive 62, Kasra Mowlavi got the tap to put together a drum and bass mix to put his stamp on. If you look at the lists of the DJ’s and artist who have put together prior compilations, you can tell it’s an honor to be included in the company.
Mixing mostly tracks from his own label Critical, but giving nods to a few other modern high-quality counterparts in the community, Kasra put together a live set that balances maturity and intensity in a way that can be appreciate by newschoolers and oldschoolers alike. As an interesting point, the set as a whole might be appreciated a little more by listeners who haven’t already decided what their favorite sub-genre of D&B is, as it makes the rounds without committing to any particular one.
The whole mix clocks in at 70 minutes, and has a tracklist of 29 tunes, so the pace is wicked, but the essence of each track is in there before it moves along to the next. Since the mix was done live, there are a few small technical errors that Kasra noted, but in interviews he said that he appreciates mistakes because they give the mix a sense of character.
Some reviewers complained because they felt that there was too much attention paid to the drum rhythms and bass, and not enough to melody line and chordal progression, but others have noted that they appreciated the fact that the mix wasn’t overdone by over-the-top melodic synth lines that tend to be popular in the progressive and more popular music right now. You can’t ever make everyone happy, and it seems that Kasra was aiming at the crowd that would be more interested in going deeper into structure and depth than skimming the surface for quick gratification.
This might be a particularly interesting mix for dubstep fans to listen to as well. There is plenty of bass wobble, though its overtones are more subtle, and some of the breaks, edits, and swings, especially during transitions, will be familiar, if not a little tighter because of the speed of the tracks. For the most part, the super intense tracks are kept short and pointed, which gives the rest of the album some room to breath and let your mind rest. You’d be hard pressed to call it dance music as such, but it’s easy to get caught bobbing your head at a half-time rhythm.
Listen in particular to the tracks by Noise, Commix and Klute, and you’ll hear some of the sounds that eventually influenced some of the whole dubstep movement. The three of them are known for composing edits so that a single stab or hit is the only thing happening in the track at that time, so it can take up the whole volume spectrum and sound absolutely huge – and that’s one of the tricks that Skrillex and crew have taken on.