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The 10 best Fabric mix CDs to date

The London club's mix series are about to go out with a bang. Here we break down their most iconic instalments.
Written by Red Bull Music UK
6 min readPublished on
Fabric isn't just London's best club – since 2001, it's been a label, too, publishing some of the best DJ mixes of the modern era through its two imprints: Fabric (dedicated to house and techno music) and FABRICLIVE (covering a broader span including grime, drum'n'bass and dubstep).
Fabric recently revealed that FABRICLIVE 100 will be mixed by Hyperdub boss Kode9 and the enigmatic genius Burial, causing a huge wave of excitement across the UK dance music coummunity. FABRICLIVE 100, which is the final instalment in the series, will be released on September 28, while a “new era of mixes” will reportedly begin after the Fabric mix series is completed in October.
In celebration Fabric’s iconic mix series, below we’ve picked out the 10 best Fabric mix CDs of all time.

James Lavelle: FABRICLIVE 01

The mix that opened the FABRICLIVE series is a stone-cold classic. Rare Earth’s Get Ready gets things off to a psychedelic start, Chemical Brothers and Orbital burrow slowly into a wormhole of trippiness before two slabs of tech-house from Bushwacka pave the way for Radiohead's Everything In Its Right Place to close things out. And that title is a very apt description for Lavelle's contribution to the series: you'll rarely hear a mix so astutely selected.

John Peel: FABRICLIVE 07

The legendary DJ made two appearances at Fabric, and the bedlam at the first was such that it forced a fan who was eight months pregnant to climb a stairwell to listen safely. The frothing crowd below bellowed along to The Undertones’ Teenage Kicks – which closes the mix – and chanted Peel’s name for 15 minutes once he’d finished. The Fall and Joy Division feature too, but the real gems are in between: see Maloko's tropical shuffle, drum’n’bass energy from Elements Of Noize and percussive R&B from Trouble Funk.
Ellen Allien
Ellen Allien

Ellen Allien: Fabric 34

The stakes are high when recording a Fabric mix, so it’s probably pretty easy to get sucked down a rabbit hole, tweaking every segue and build to within an inch of its life. Credit, then, to Bpitch Control boss Ellen Allien, whose vinyl-only mix of louche minimal techno, click house and electronic soul hits all the right buttons. You probably never thought you’d shake a leg to Thom Yorke’s Harrowdown Hill, but you were wrong.

Marcus Intalex: FABRICLIVE 35

Drum’n’bass and Fabric are inextricably linked, and while DJ Hype's third instalment of the series from 2002 is as claustrophobic and grimy as the Clerkenwell streets that surround the club, Marcus Intalex represents an altogether brighter and bolder side of the genre. Here, the melody and musicality of d'n'b are allowed to flourish via deep, rhythmic selections from Breakage, Alix Perez, Lynx and some muscle from Jonny L.

Ricardo Villalobos: Fabric 36

For many DJs, the chance to record a Fabric mix would offer an opportunity to plumb the depths of one’s record collection in search of hidden gems and deep cuts. Not for minimal king Ricardo Villalobos – his Fabric 36 is entirely stuffed with his own compositions, which might feel egotistical, were it not for its sense of smooth, tactile perfection. Blending smooth minimal techno with world and jazz flavors, it’s a blissful and engrossing listen that lays occasional bold wild cards: see 12-minute centerpiece Andruic & Japan, a Latin-tinged pulse peppered with bursts of Japanese Taiko drumming and a female voice talking about the cooking of chicken giblets.

Caspa & Rusko: FABRICLIVE 37

Can one mix CD change the course of a genre? Caspa & Rusko’s 2007 mix says yes. Prior to FABRICLIVE 37, dubstep was a gloomy, urban, definably London sound. But then West London DJ/producer Caspa and his Leeds-born friend and collaborator Rusko got their hands on the keys and decided to take it out for a spin. Tectonic bass trembles gave way to jelly-belly bass wobbles, and in Rusko’s Cockney Thug – featuring a sample of foul-mouthed Guy Ritchie favourite Alan Ford giving it the old four letters – we had a brostep anthem to take on the world.
Ben UFO
Ben UFO

Ben UFO: FABRICLIVE 67

A year and a half after his mate Kieran Hebden released his own perfectly executed FABRICLIVE mix, Ben UFO dropped one that was equally special. Every ripple, bubble and blast is linked with authority and cunning, the London producer positioning tracks from Jam City, Kyle Hall & Kero, Pearson Sound and Elgato in such a way that they're rendered both compulsively danceable and oddly foreboding.
DJ EZ
DJ EZ

DJ EZ: FABRICLIVE 71

Anyone who's ever seen DJ EZ at Fabric will know that he turns the place into a giant sardine can, stuffed with bouncing bodies brined in sweat. Diehards would argue no-one else creates such atmosphere in there. The fast-fingered UKG hero encapsulates that on this mix which showcases his talent for chopping classics of the genre (Little Man, All I Do) together with real freshness.

Logan Sama: FABRICLIVE 83

Grime DJ stalwart Logan Sama didn’t take the easy route when it came to piecing together his Fabric mix. In the words of its maker, it’s a “sonic collage”, packed with unreleased music from 30 producers and a capellas from a mix of big dog MCs (Wiley, Footsie, Kano) as well as rising stars like AJ Tracey and Jammz. At Logan’s request, the instrumentals are available as a quadruple vinyl set. As he puts it: “I just love the idea of giving a kid somewhere an entire grime set in a box.”
Flava D at Red Bull Roadblock 2018
Flava D at Red Bull Roadblock 2018

Flava D: FABRICLIVE 88

Stepping up to the series with confidence, Flava D’s mix was primarily built with her own unreleased material, much of it crafted in her own studio. The high-octane mix sees the TQD member effortlessly fluctuate between bassline, slick UGK and grime, while vocalists like Miss Fire, Slick Don and D Double E (who appears twice) ensure that the energy never dips. A bold statement from one of the most exciting producer/DJs on the UK scene.
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