Album Review: Fabric 47 - Various mixed by Jay Haze

Fabric 47 crashes your party like a much cooler than you stranger. It has seen things you haven't seen and has layers you failed to anticipate.

This is a mix that demonstrates a clear disregard for genre, style or pigeon-hole. Jay Haze has created a sound that manages to bring together disparate styles in a fashion that feels totally natural with none of the sense of forced fun of a consciously eclectic mix. Starting with the jazzy opener 'Awakening', from Haze himself, the listener is taken through Lil Dirty Ghetto Bastard's paranoid tech-blues record 'An Hour to Fly' and onto Mike Dunn AKA Mr 69's hip-house 'Phreaky Motherfucker' in quick succession and, at three tracks in, it's unquestionably the most exciting start for a Fabric album in recent memory.

Jay Haze is known as a DJ, label owner (TuningSpork, Contexterrior and Future Dub) and artist (as himself and under the Fuckpony moniker) and BlackPlastic has to admit that until now none of his work had particularly resonated. It can be troubling when a label owner and prolific artist makes a mix - there is a danger they will focus too much on their own work and labels, creating a mix without variety. No danger of that here however - Haze's own tracks are all dramatically different in themselves and there is plenty of work from others here. This is a mix not intent to stay still - taking in techno, house, hip-hop, dub, blues and jazz in a wholly modern and exciting way.

It's without doubt one of the most creative Fabric albums in ages, the slow burning dub, hip-hop and jazz moments providing real flow and being handled sympathetically. Catrat's reggae tinged 'Freedom', remixed by Haze, slots into the mix wonderfully despite a dramatically lower BPM count. Similarly, The Last Poet's 'When The Revolution Comes' provides an angry counterweight for the album, riding on top the clicks and bleeps of Pheek's 'Soundscape'. Closing on the emotional, jazzy hip-hop of the exclusive cut 'Something To Say' by Rockey puts a beautiful full stop on the set - an honest explanation of what it is to love music and what it does and means to people.

Fabric 47 is so fresh it inevitably makes the rest of your record collection feel a little stale.

Fabric 47 is released on July 13 in the UK and August 11 in the US.  You can subscribe to the Fabric CD series at the FabricFirst website. It is worth noting that Haze is donating the fee from this mix to a charity currently working in the Democratic Republic of Congo - Merlin Health Services.

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