Album Review: Fabric 45 - various mixed by Claude VonStroke

Claude VonStroke has something of an identity problem. His breakthrough track 'Who's Afraid Of Detroit', with it's spooky, spacious take on minimal and Detroit techno, was met with pretty much universal acclaim. It was the kind of track any DJ could get away with dropping. Yet whilst VonStroke's 'The Whistler' managed to garner a certain degree of attention it certainly didn't achieve the same level of acclaim.

VonStroke, or Barclay Crenshaw to give him his proper name, started making hip-hop and got into house and techno after being forced to write the soundtrack for a documentary he helped make on superstar DJs. Unable to afford to license music from the DJs themselves VonStroke and his fellow collaborators on the film wrote and made all the music themselves, replicating the style of each DJ. Given his background, a lack of identity is perhaps a little understandable - he has neither managed to create a great artist album nor is he regarded as a truly great DJ. A least not yet.

Because Fabric 46 is actually a pretty consistent and coherent mix. Odd, given VonStroke's history and his own assertion that this mix deliberately a mixture of styles. It's a testament to the sequencing then that the likes of the sleazy Detroit Grand Pubahs' 'Big Onion' manage to sit in a mix that also dabbles in strings (in the fantastic instrumental dub of Kiki's 'Immortal') and contains touches of jazz (Robag Whrume's tech-house 'Guppipepitsche') and the intelligent noodling of two Stimming tracks.  Claude has deliberately twisted this mix in on itself and chopped the tracks up to the point where the whole thing flows.

Fabric 46 is another tech-house mix and whilst it is varied Claude VonStroke hasn't exactly torn up the rule book here. What he has done however is construct a mix that progresses and does far more and with more consistency than many others could do within the confines of the genres visited throughout the album.

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