Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Various artists 

Fabric Vol. 11 (Swayzak)

Wednesday, Jul 23 2003
Once upon a time -- just after disco, during the early '80s -- house music emerged to tell stories. Before it became the party-hearty soundtrack for the bridge-and-tunnel gentry of the Chicago and New York clubs, house, as played by DJs like Frankie Knuckles and Ron Hardy, had a certain intelligence to it. It folded elements like synth pop, dub reggae, techno, and jazz into its insistent 4/4 beat. Furthermore, those DJs' mix-soundtracks told the story of a durable, trend-hardened, and opaque late-night club lifestyle. Like most over-30 British DJs, James Taylor and David Brown -- who spin together as Swayzak -- adore the narrative spirit of those mixes, and the pair's contribution to the London club Fabric's mix series uses current house tunes like sentences to spin a compelling urban yarn.

Offering up an impressively diverse approach to house music's 120-beats-per-minute regimen, Swayzak seems to chronicle a hipster's club night out in this mix. The initial clacking, mechano-minimalist tech-house by Akufen, Konrad Black, and Luomo approximates car or bus sounds driving through the quiet night before sending its passengers off through the club's door. Inside, it's a crowd of distinct characters: There's the longing lounge singer Louie Austen, mixed by Herbert; the numb club girl in Felix Da Housecat's "What Does It Feel Like"; the floating Rasta crooning over Rockers Hi-Fi's dubby "Push Push"; and the anxious post-rock scenester 'fessing up over drum-machine-driven funk in LCD Soundsystem's "Losing My Edge." Finally, after a touch of tweaky early-a.m. tech-house, the dawn breaks on German duo Salz's deep remix of Thomas Dolby's melancholy 1981 hit "One of Our Submarines," as Dolby's cries of "Goodbye, empire" bring a chill against the morning sun. With its natural flow and flawless selection, Swayzak's mix offers up a potent document of a night in the life of a scene called house.

About The Author

Ron Nachmann


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment


  • A Look Back at Summer 2014
    Labor Day is the unofficial end to summer -- back to school, the days grow shorter, and fall weather is just around the corner. So have a look back at San Francisco's 2014 summer.
  • Jack White at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
    Jack White and his band performed at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on Friday and Saturday nights in front of sold out audiences. Jack entertained his fans with music that included songs from his days with The White Stripes, and The Raconteurs, as well as hits from his solo albums; Blunderbuss and Lazaretto. Photography by Sugarwolf.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular