Goldie: Fabriclive 58

Two things to know upfront about Goldie's mix for Fabric: the set is resolutely dedicated to drum'n'bass, and fourteen of its twenty-seven selections are from Clifford Joseph Price's own Metalheadz label (which he co-founded in 1994 with the duo Kemistry & Storm). So those with a low tolerance for drum'n'bass and its signature beat syncopations might therefore wish to pass on the release and instead set their sights on others in the series (such as Four Tet's just-released installment, for example). Others with some degree of appetite for the genre will find themselves well-sated by the release. As far as emphasizing music from his own label is concerned, one could call Goldie out for such blatant self-promotion; on the other hand, can one really blame him for using the opportunity to spread the Metalheadz word?

Regardless, the mix slams as hard as one would expect it to, but the famously gold-toothed DJ also judiciously cools the pace and brings the intensity down to let listeners catch their collective breath, oftentimes during the transition from one cut to the next. In one example, Fresh's “The Gatekeeper” briefly arrests the lightspeed propulsion of S.I.N. & Mutated Forms's “Right Now” before plunging into a classic jungle episode of its own. Things get underway on a surprisingly elegant note when Rido's “Twisted” inaugurates the mix with a classically tinged intro and Thomas Oliver's vocalizing before rolling out a classic, Photek-styled beat pattern. Some tracks hit with a primal, barn-burning fury, such as Subwave & Enei's “The Mines,” Adam F's “Metropolis,” Mutated Forms' “Doubts,” and Wickaman & RV's “Ev's Dead,” while others, such as Mutated Forms' “Crowlin” and Mark System's “Hold It” (with a vocal by Youngman) operate on a more soulful tip. Robert Owens' immediately identifiable voice also adds soul to Icicle's “Redemption,” while Riya's dulcet tones do the same to Lenzman's “Open Page.” Elsewhere Goldie makes room for drum'n'bass tracks by Marcus Intalex (the uplifting slam of “Celestial Navigation”), Commix (the storming “Be True”), and his own career-launcher “Timeless,” and an occasional voice sample adds variety to the mix too (e.g., Fresh's “The Gatekeeper”). There're enough raw bass drops and clattering breakbeats on hand to satisfy the drum'n'bass head, and enough variety to hold even the most drum'n'bass-resistant listener's attention. Goldie keeps things moving fast, with many tracks one- to two-minutes in length, and for this listener the peak moment arrives twenty-one tracks in, when dBridge's “Cornered” twists the “Funky Drummer” break into a fabulous new shape.

That Goldie's mix arrives almost two decades into his career makes one wonder why Fabric chose to feature him rather than someone less established; one would naturally expect the label to favour a visionary producer new to the scene over someone associated with an earlier vanguard. At the same time, perhaps Fabric should be commended for including figures of long-standing in its mix series rather than treating them like yesterday's news.

September 2011