Switched on – Fabric presents Maribou State (Fabric)

What’s the story?

Fabric may have called time on their two long-running compilation series, each of which declared on 100 not out, but they are still producing anthologies centering on a particular artist. Some, like this one from the duo Maribou State, are still concerned with reproducing the feel of a night out to the club.

There’s a subtle difference this time around, however, as the mix hones in on the sweet spot where the feelings build, Maribou State heading out on the journey to their own set with spirits and expectations high. This most pleasant of states is enhanced by field recordings from previous journeys into the club, complementing the choice of 21 tracks.

What’s the music like?

Dreamy. There is pure escapism at work here, right from the moment the strains of Stelvio Cipriani’s Mary’s Theme ease the listener into the evening. Over the next few tracks Maribou State establish a relaxed tempo and a penchant for a catchy hook or two, the relatively short excerpts blending together and fed through a warm fuzz. That slightly out of focus sound peaks through the heady sounds of Kutiman’s Line 5 and carries us through a soft-hearted cover of Ain’t No Stopping Us Now from Risco Connection, nicely done.

This is a junction point in the mix, after which it gets more percussive while retaining the fuzzy sheen round the outside. This works especially well when tracks like Oriyin’s Roll The Dice, with its nagging vocal hook, and Botany’s excellent Wednesday Night Oct 28 2015 are involved. The latter, a Western Vinyl release, pans out nicely, losing its beats as disjointed choral voices circle the listener in a heady cocktail.

Two-thirds of the way through the mix the tracks get longer, and we arrive at the squelchy funk of Shire Tea’s Hackney Birdwatch, as English as it sounds. This is the cue for two new tracks from Maribou State themselves, the urgent Mother and the skittish beats of Strange Habits, featuring Yussef Dayes. These frame another exclusive, their pulsing remix of Radiohead’s Reckoner, with some squiggly synthesizers to complement Thom Yorke’s floated vocal. Earlier on in the mix we get the duo channelled through the pseudonym North Downs, the easy and rather lovely Settle Down.

The mix wraps up with another Shire Tea track, the quick stepping Gentleman’s Whistle Club, which steps into the cooled down piano vibes of Hailu Mergia, and the improvisatory Yefkir Engurguro. This disappears into the middle distance.

Does it all work?

Most of the time. The mix drifts a little towards the middle, in danger of settling too far into the background, but thankfully the duo have an ace or a hook up their sleeves to bring it forward again. It’s good to hear a quirk or two in the productions, and refreshing to note the relative absence of big names.

Is it recommended?

Yes. For much of this warming hour and a quarter there is a strong sunshine vibe, and although Maribou State are be recreating a night at Fabric they could just as easily be providing the soundtrack for a particularly warm poolside scene in the Mediterranean. How we could do with that now!

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