Listen: Four Tet Fabric Mix With Track By Track Breakdown
Four Tet a.k.a Kieran Hebden recently put together the 59th mix for the series released by renown London club Fabric.
In an adventure into the past Kieran sought out not only classics, but searched for rarer tracks he may have missed at the time when he was immersed in the original 90s 2-step/ garage scene. A genre that has been popping up more and more in his DJ sets. The music is important, but the experience of finding so many forgotten records and producers became an intrinsic part of the story - meeting specialist record dealers, months of email exchanges with old friends and acquaintances, Twittering, nights on Discogs, dead ends and confusing leads. In the mix, forgotten gems reside next to current tracks that are dear to him and a number of his own tracks made specially for the CD. He's also explored the idea of the club itself, sending his audio engineer friend Sasha Lewis to make field recordings from fabric, which feature as a highlight and pause, breaking the mix into different parts - as if you're moving within the club's space to hear different DJs.
"This mix is not about my DJing. It's about London and fabric and nights out and my take on all that. The memories and the influences. I used old and new music, I used recordings of fabric, and I made new tracks of my own for it. I hope people play it fucking loud and lose their minds in it and remember or imagine what it's all about." - Four Tet
Interestingly, the entire mix is constructed on computer, more in the way you would create a film score than a DJ mix. Yet every track is vinyl, with Kieran cutting acetates of all his own music for the mix, to ensure that the sound quality and vibe is consistent. It's then mastered with no cleaning or leveling, to retain the hiss, pop and crackle of the wax. It's these slightly obsessive details that highlight why we have this Four Tet mix. For Kieran, to do anything in these days of overload - especially of DJ mixes, there must be a purpose, something unique to offer, and it's these details that are so crucial to him. We hope that you delve deep into the music and take as much pleasure from this trip as we did.
You can hear the entire mix below and also read through a track by track commentary from Four Tet himself, done for self-titledmag.
2. Michel Redolfi - Immersion Partielle [INA-GRM]
I'm really into a lot of pioneering synthesizer music and the music that's been housed on this label. I think this track was done with speakers immersed in water; it's a beautiful record and I would listen to it a lot and play it out. It's totally techno in my mind but not clubby at all; not much different to Plastikman if you think about it, at least in my perspective.
3. Crazy Bald Heads - First Born [On-Tick]
This tune has a '90s [UK] garage vibe. Still brilliant to this day. If a tune like this came out on a label like Hessle Audio, people would go absolutely crazy for it. The remix I did was an accompaniment to an already brilliant track. I just pieced on a couple of bits to add to making the track even better.
4. Persian - Feel Da Vibe [Same People]
It's from the same era as the last track, but veering more towards speed-garage. I only recently discovered Persian. He put out loads of good stuff. I think he doesn't get recognized enough. I found this track of YouTube, and couldn't find it in stores, so I asked Persian and he couldn't find it either! No one could find a master of the track, and I went on Discogs and found someone who could send me the track without much issue.
5. KH - 101112 [unreleased]
KH is my initials. I made this track specifically for the mix. This tune goes really well with the influx of garage surrounding it. As you can hear, it's taking the previous tune and moving along to the next track, which is a bit different.
6. Youngstar (Musical Mob) - Pulse X [Inspired Sounds]
A real grime classic. There was this record dealer who was helping me find records for the mix and he started pulling out some grime instrumentals for me, and this tune blew me away. I bought three copies and the first copy I had was in such bad condition, it wouldn't play through entirely. The copy on the mix was a bit crackly, but it was the best I could find. When it comes to recording a mix with half records and half digital files, it sounds a bit weird. This part of the mix is specifically about Fabric and London%u2014I saw the evolution of jungle go to garage and grime and so on, so I really wanted to capture the shift in sounds during this part of the journey.
7. Crazy Bald Heads - First Born (Four Tet Remix) [unreleased]
(see Track #3)
8. Floating Points - Sais (Dub) [Eglo]
He's one of my favorite producers at the moment. I honestly could've used any of his tracks, but “Sais” was the most recent one to come out during the creation of the mix. In addition to that, the tempo and the rhythm worked perfect with everything involving the mix at this point. To have a record like “Pulse X” go into Floating Points was a nice contrast that I felt needed to be explored.
9. Apple - Mr Bean [Appsolute]
He was hard to track down. We were given four different E-mail addresses and to finally find him was a tricky task, but this one fit nicely into the funky/house vibe. Still to this day, the tune is a beast to whoever drops it, yet nobody really knows who he is!
10. Manitoba (Caribou) - Webers [Leaf]
He's a really good friend of mine, I wanted to put this track out because of the garage meld. People have been saying he's just been making more club-oriented tunes, but actually he's been doing clubby records for years now, and this came out earlier in the decade, and sounds pretty fresh to this day.
11. Big Bird - Flav (Urban Myths Remix) [Nice n Ripe]
Just a wicked old garage record. To me, these tracks sound really good, but not massive anthems; yet they really have their place in the history of London. The tracks have stood the test of time, you know? On proper systems, this gets a drop and there's no stopping the dance.
12. Genius - Waiting [Kronik]
That vocal hook is something else, man. It works so well with sort of closing out this chapter in the mix. Also: “Waiting” works with the next tune because you do have to wait for a little bit in order for the mix to continue. But nonetheless, a fantastic sort of techno-garage track.
13. Four Tet - Fabric [unreleased]
This is more of the sounds of the club. There's a little bit about moving between the rooms of the club; you can hear the bleed of music between the background. It's not a flat recording. It's like six or seven recordings inside the club.
14. David Borden - The Continuing Story Of Counterpoint, Part Nine [David Borden]
This is a late-'70s piece. Borden was in a band called Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Company, and I met him a couple of weeks after I licensed the song. It's kind of Steve Reich-processed type of music, done with Mini-Moogs. Again, it sounds like techno to me, but comes from a different world and time.
15. STL - Dark Energy [Something]
They put out a lot of good stuff; almost too much to digest! I could've picked so many tunes, but this is one of the recent ones. I wanted this mix to start up fast and this is the point where things would become deeper and bit slower.
16. Percussions - Percussions One [unreleased]
This i something I did in the late '90s that I never put out. I experimented with the thought of putting this in the mix, thinking it would work and in the end, it did.
17. C++ - Angie's Fucked [Music For Freaks]
Trevor Jackson played this tune at Love in NYC. I never had to go up to the DJ booth as much as with Trevor. I wanted to put this track in as a nod to one of my favorite DJs. He's the first DJ I went to see out of sheer excitement and when I'd come 'round, he'd be playing Public Image Ltd. with house and hip-hop. I learned so much from him. It's really invaluable.
18. Burial - Street Halo [Hyperdub]
One of my favorite records in 2011. I mean, it's such an obvious thing to put in there, but at the end of the day it's got to be played. The day it came out, I played it three times at Plastic People and played it at three times. Just from start to finish, it was so crazy. He's a friend of mine and it made so much sense to me to add this to the mix, because it's a pure expression of his tastes and interests in music. For me, it's one of the most Burial-esque Burial tracks in existence.
19. KMA - Cape Fear [KMA]
Classic. I only bought a copy recently. You see, half of the tracks on the mix stem from a timeline, and half are tunes that I just caught onto. When I did this mix, I need to go back and check out what I missed out on. I go on YouTube and see 500,000 people listen.
20. WK7 - Higher Power [Power House]
I saw this around and I knew it would fit. Even if it's current, it still has a timeless factor and totally works with the rest of the mix.
21. Ricardo Villalobos - Sieso [Cadenza]
He's one of my favorite producers; so many nice tracks and his mix for Fabric is an absolute classic. I was keen to put a track of his in, one that had nothing to do with minimal techno. I've seen him DJ a load of times and he stands out by miles, with a completely different attitude and agenda.
22. Four Tet - Pyramid [Text]
I made that purely for this to go into the mix. It's way more direct and clubby than anything I've ever done.
23. Red Rack'em - How I Program [Bergerac]
Another recent 12” that I really liked from [the record store] Phonica. It seemed to cover all these influences. It's super-short, but it works.
24. Active Minds - Hobson's Choice (Tune For Da Man Dem) [white]
This 12” has a girl/boy version. This is the darker version. This is a point of the mix that I wanted to get back to the beginning of the mix, when I started to get info to clear the track, white-label only. This dude Jess Jackson (who produces Tyga at the moment) produced it, who moved to LA from the UK, was hard to find but in the end it was sorted.
25. Armando Gallop & Steve Poindexter - Blackholes [Muzique]
I love this record. I wanted to have one old American original rooted classic in this mix. It fits so nicely with “Hobson's Choice.”
27. Four Tet - Locked [Text]
I made that track around the same time I was putting together in the mix and I wanted it to stand alone, so I put it at the end; kind of like a conclusion to the night. Very summery in some ways.