Mathew Jonson: fabric 84

A few details are worth noting about Mathew Jonson's fabric set before turning to the mix itself. On the night it was recorded (at fabric's fifteenth birthday in 2014), Ben UFO performed before the Canadian-born producer, an arrangement that proved significant as it prompted Jonson to initiate his set with techno before shifting to funkier material. Though it's his first commercial live recording, it's not his first fabric appearance: that occurred in 2003 where he played live using a host of analogue machines, as he still does today. In keeping with the celebratory spirit of the occasion, Jonson apparently performed the set wearing a full-body Japanese bunny suit—an image you might want to keep in mind as the mix plays.

In opening with “Northern Lights” by Cobblestone Jazz (of which he's a member), Jonson wastes little time kicking up a storm. One minute into the mix, the music's bubbling and percolating, with techno pulses rising, hi-hats ringing, and kick drums pounding, the groove both tightening and becoming more elastic. A seamless segue into his own irrepressibly effervescent “Dayz” follows, the music if anything going deeper and getting funkier, after which the kinetic “Learning to Fly” makes its own epic case. The mix breathlessly advances, stoking serious fire as it powers its way through “Octopus Brains” by Units and Measurements (featuring Deadbeat) and “If” by Tobias., the latter in a remix treatment by Jonson and The Mole. Jonson originals and remixes dominate thereafter, with Jonson remixing himself (even giving the boombastic “Decompression” three go-rounds, the third a mash-up with “Ghosts in the A.I.”) as well as cuts by Subb-an and Kevin Saunderson. That aforesaid funkier side, by the way, definitely moves to the fore during “Imagination,” “That 101 Is Mine,” and Subb-an's soulful “Say No More” (featuring S.Y.F.).

There's no small amount of primal thrust on offer, and Jonson's thunderous set certainly doesn't lack for bounce and energy. Adding considerably to the recording's appeal, a large percentage of it (nine of twenty cuts, by my reckoning) is previously unreleased material, most of it Jonson's. In place of a mix featuring an abundance of different artists, fabric 84 is thus very much an in-depth portrait of the artist, so much so that even the few non-Jonson tracks are remixes by him. With fifteen of them credited to Jonson, his fingerprints are pretty much on every one of the frothy set's twenty tracks.

November 2015