Fabric 57: Agoria (Fabric Records)
The French artist concocts a beautifully dense mix
Wed May 11 2011
Time Out Ratings :<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5
In the last few seconds of the 11th song on the new Fabric mix, from France's Sbastien "Agoria" Devaud, a female voice suddenly and simply announces, "hot"—and, for once, that oft-used house-music meme has it right: This is one feverish set. The track is a finely patterned quilt of "Speechless (Whisper Dub)" from Agoria himself (featuring Carl Craig and La Scalars) and "Somebody Else's Idea" by cosmic jazzbo Sun Ra and his Mythic Science Orchestra, and it's dense, somewhat mysterious nature—all chugging rhythm stiched with swirling filigree—encapsulates the sound of this set. The mix is packed with ideas, not to mention genres—techno, old-schoolish Chicago material, acid, deep house and plenty more, including Ella Fitzgerald (more on her later)—weaving their way through the mix's rhythmic trellis in what seems to be three dimensions. The sonic thickness might be a bit off-putting at first; it admittedly takes some getting used to, particularly by those who like their music full of airy open spaces.
The density does let up at times: The Izmabad 118 remix of Jos James's "Blackmagic" is a gently emotive breather, while Jerome Sydenham and Joe Claussell's "Rhythm" is a good, old-fashioned conga workout. (That it's a conga workout that bleeds beautifully into the dOP version of Clara Moto's "Deer & Fox" is an added bonus.) And Ms. Fitzgerald? She first appears sitting astride Moritz von Oswald's reworking of Tony Allen's "Ole", rambling on about "the beat, beat, beat of the tom-tom." Later, the set concludes the song from which those lyrics are lifted—Cole Porter's "Night and Day," recorded with Fitzgerald and the Buddy Bregman Orchestra—in its full, luscious glory. It's a bold move, as the classic tune has, thematically, little in common with what comes before. But beauty is beauty—and beauty is exactly what Agoria is striving for here.