fabric 85: Baby Ford

An old hand but still in the thick of it...

Fair play to fabric for putting on one of the greats: the '80s raised Baby Ford is one of house and techno's true mainstays (as well as an old hand at fabric), unfussily bringing his best bag of platters with plenty of life in them, tucked in with wax getting a little longer but no less funkier in the tooth.

Tracks have their time instead of getting lost in a frenzy of edits and technical spiel – how quaint? – and what starts off as a really sticky, dark and stubbly shift of shuffling techno, suddenly flips a switch and gets heads and hands up, prior to Ford cooling the atmosphere until it's settled in between. That initial trigger is Derrick Carter's 'Boompty Boomp Theme' (well over a decade old), followed on the rebound by Joy Orbison's warehouse filler 'Ellipsis'.

It's this idea of looking back to keep up to date, and Ford letting the fact that the more things change the more they stay the same speak for itself, that helps the veteran's 74-minute shit-kicker avoid being a facile celebration of the art, or worse, a compulsory roll call of classics. While you'll take Ford's vast dancefloor knowledge as a given, a lot of his tracklisting comes sourced from the last couple of years or so, yet with a traceable background. This makes Pal Joey's well mature 'Spend the Night', one track that you can instantly tell has got some grey hairs on its head, feel most at home amongst deep, upfront nudges from Fatdog and Doublet making you sweat yourself dry.

Never better underlined by the meaty garage blackout of Julian Alexander's 'Undrgr' and his own effing funky remix of OCH's 'Time Tourism', Ford is still in the thick of it, and plays the game perfectly.


Words: Matt Oliver

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