Album Review: Fabric 52 - various mixed by Optimo (Espacio)

Fabric 52 delivers. Optimo have long been heralded as innovators and legends and their mix albums have always been good. But good isn't always enough.

This is better. From the angry Soft Cell-esque 'Lady Shave' Fabric 52 feels like it falls through the door without so much as a glance in your direction. A drunken adolescence of a record, it is quite happy being self-obsessed and arrogantly unaware of your thoughts or feelings. It sounds like it would go on playing itself even if you tried to stop it.

Optimo have made a thrilling, wobbly, bubbling, acid-washed, squelchy set full of reverb and trouble and doubt. Whilst previous Optimo efforts may have been distracted and deliberately eclectic (How To Kill The DJ Part Two, anyone?) Fabric 52 proves they can work a groove.

This is an album that progresses through several themes and styles but knits things together closely enough that the joins aren't even visible. Even the anthemic 'Don't Call' from Desire is disguised beneath bleeps, rhythmic stabs and shouts - letting the track ride into town on Oni Ayhun's 'OAR003-B' is a stroke of genius and successfully transforms the track. It's one of those rare moments where a mix between a couple of tracks makes something completely new and manages to improve on the original. It's really that good.

Fabric 52 really feels like an important album. Sometimes mix albums are able to point to the future far better than an album from one individual act can. The dark, spiralling acid trip of Optimo's set feels like just such an article. As on the tripped out mish-mash of Nakion's 'Heartbit' and Xex's 'Heartbeat' that closes the album, this is a fantastic collaboration between the past and the future.

BP x

Fabric 52 is out now, available from on CD and MP3 [affiliate links].