Ryan Elliott’s own music is always delivered via a very specific aesthetic: his sparse percussion is augmented by other elements, like synths or sliced vocals, which add a sense of drive to proceedings. It is a wholly minimalistic aesthetic, and one that belies his life between Detroit and Berlin. While his fabric mix might not include any of his own productions, the same aesthetic elements are found throughout its 71 minutes.
As a representation of both Elliott’s style and the rhythmically circular sounds that work best in fabric’s main room on a Saturday night, the mix is impeccable. ‘fabric 88’ is a fine representation of the captivating sound that both Ryan Elliott and fabric are known for. Its constantly evolving groove is as hypnotic and engaging as it is representative of the club’s ethos. In fact, the mix is so effective at engrossing the listener that we found ourselves surprised as it ended, almost abruptly, after just over an hour. This kind of intelligent pacing is Elliott’s hallmark and is made possible by the combination of his thoughtful track selection and his uncanny ability to shift mood through subtle musical variation.
Driving relentlessly through a set consisting mainly of tough Chicago house and coarse techno, Elliott’s mixing remains tight throughout. This is to be expected of the longstanding selector. More exciting is the way in which he maintains uniformity in his sound whilst keeping the listener on their toes - later on in the mix; Ryan introduces UK garage track ‘Five Fingers in the West (UK Gold Remix)’. This is a telling moment. One of the DJ’s many talents is his ability to find the twilight zone between genres, where seemingly incompatible sounds overlap. On ‘fabric 88’ he manages to deftly move from techno to garage then back to techno without upsetting the mix’s balance.
Yet the mix’s clear emphasis on repetition does have a downside. As a home listening experience, ‘fabric 88’ tends to become less interesting after multiple listens. The subtle left turns that excited on the first few spins soon fail to engage the listener as they did before. Yet the incessant groove of the mix never fails to captivate the listener. ‘fabric 88’ does not aim to surprise or wow its audience through clever transitions or studio wizardry. At its core, Ryan Elliott’s take on the club’s esteemed mix series seeks to lock the listener in to a groove, as if they we locked into an all night session of hypnotic techno in the ex-meat storage cellar’s main room.
Words: Alex Green
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