Releasing for over two decades under varying aliases, Darmstadt prodigy Roman Flügel has slowly crept into the ranks of electronic music royalty, thanks as much to his killer 12”s and pensive full-lengths as to his mixes at Ibiza’s Amnesia, Berlin’s Panorama Bar and, closer to home, at Offenbach’s renowned venue Robert Johnson. Contributing back in 2010 to the latter club’s own prestigious mix series, ‘Live at Robert Johnson’, Flügel’s effortless genre-hopping then matched acid classics with sharp, moody house and techno.
Now, over ten years since his first set at Fabric, Flügel offers a surprisingly site-specific addition to the roster, and new levels of precision eclecticism. Opening with crisp, oddball house that wouldn’t sound out of place in a set by fellow kraut DJ Koze, the pace swells deftly into more jagged shapes — Koehler’s ‘Oblivious Pool (Invisible Dub)’ subtly flashing the junglist textures that come to dominate the mix’s finale.
Once the energy picks up, the mixture of boshing Chicago trax and acid soon segues into something darker, the paranoid, dubwise techno of Bristol’s El Kid finally giving way to the mix’s third act — a terse collection of heavily jungle-inflected techno and dubbed-out bass. Both a friendly nod to this heart of London club culture and to his own past flirtations with breakcore, the mix’s ending scatters subdued breakbeats across a totally unpredictable masterclass in dynamics. Just when you think that Flügel has reset the tone to hypnotic techno, the last two tracks pull a one-two punch with Bartellow’s jazzist ‘Amnesia’ and the quite literally electrifying breakbeat obscurity ‘Fascinating’, from D.H.S., which zaps like a camp tesla coil.
Although dealing in relatively dark shades, ‘FABRICLIVE 95’ is a surprisingly jolly, uniquely eccentric listen. If you came across this set having only heard the ambient and minimal of 2016 LP ‘All The Right Noises’, you’d be forgiven for first thinking you’d accidentally stumbled into Room 2. But you'd leave with twitchy hips, a chronic case of gun fingers, and a big, daft grin on your face.
Words: Callum McLean
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