Beautiful Ambiguity: STEFFI’s ‘fabric 94’ Reviewed

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Image credit: Markus Spiering Flickr 

STEFFI – fabric 94 (fabric)

Legendary Berlin resident and label boss STEFFI welds songs made by friends into beautiful and mysterious passages on her contribution to the fabric series. 

Every DJ approaches their contribution to fabric’s legendary mix CD series with a mission statement, and Berlin-based Panorama Bar staple Steffi Doms comes through with a suitably idiosyncratic one on fabric 94. Comprised entirely of tunes by labelmates and friends and supposedly based on an aesthetic brief, Doms’ craft revolves around wholesome, celestial expression and sumptuously drawn out passages that allow the tunes to have stand-alone impact while still committing to the whole.

The mix is staunchly atmospheric, and its interweaving of light and dark is always well honed and nearly perfectly judged. The zenith of the first twenty minutes is the glorious marriage of Unbalance’s ‘Freedom’ and Doms & Deykers’ ‘No Life On The Surface,’ the kaleidoscopic synth pads and mechanical grooves providing both reflection and a sense of purpose.

Each passage almost creates a mini-world, and the anxiety that consumes the run of Answer Request Code’s ‘Forking Path,’ Dexter’s ’66’ and 214’s ‘Sound Moments’ feels like a summation of a dystopian metropolis’ criminal underbelly. The mix retains its character as it becomes more ostensibly club-friendly in its final third, culminating in a fairly inspired closing gambit as it traverses from the ice-cold otherworldliness of Afik Naim’s ‘Saturniidae’ into the acid-sprinkled retro boom of Dexter & Virginia’s ‘Off the Beat’ and ends on the equally as wonky EBM drive of Privacy’s ‘Broke.’

In a year where the fabric series has been profound in individualism, STEFFI’s mix is resonant; it’s a journey through sounds and landscapes that are as open to interpretation as they are clearly defined.

8/10

For Fans Of: Drexciya, Marcel Dettmann

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