fabric debuts its new night Forms, a fortnightly offering of techno, house, and disco. Kieran Devlin reviews.
The truism goes that a near-death experience is accompanied by a new lease of life, that it inspires self-reflection and energises the compulsion to be better and give more. When fabric had its license revoked in September 2016, it appeared another tragic end to a London nightlife staple, joining the likes of Plastic People and Turnmills in the capital’s decadent footnotes.
Since the club reopened just over a year ago, thanks to impassioned financial and lobbying support from across the planet (including London Mayor Sadiq Khan), it’s been roundly praised by DJs, the press – and the people who know best – the clubbers, for its increased variety in DJ curation as well as a relentlessly impressive series of line-ups. For 2018, fabric essentially want to be better and give more, through making a concerted effort in platforming young, diverse British talent and providing substantial time and space in the warm-up slots.
fabric’s Andrew Hill commented: “The night is definitely a mixture of both giving fresh local talent the opportunity to sit side by side the best international DJs. We’ll be scouting for warm up DJs who are showing promise and giving them that bigger platform and experience.” He continued: “The new series is something we’ve been working towards for a while. It made sense to create something new to compliment the programming that you’ll find at FABRICLIVE and fabric on Saturday nights.”
Interestingly, and with refreshing honesty, Hill doesn’t ascribe Forms as capturing a specific moment or movement, but only to give London’s musical multifariousness a megaphone: “The thing about London is that it’s firing off on all kind of cylinders at any one moment, there are so many pots of scenes bubbling and artists and promoters innovating and doing good things. It’s actually consistently refreshing itself keeping London exciting. I think if you can see a movement coming, then it’s probably already passed you. You never know what’s round the corner!”
Emphasis on promotion is the opening angle of Forms’ mission statement, its latter aim is to offer a fortnightly techno, house, and disco-flavoured alternative to their established Friday series Hill referred to, fabriclive, which caters more to dub and drum & bass. Though it wasn’t until Skream’s billing that we got some truly soaring disco playtime, in the early sets of last Friday’s launch party Greg Venezia delivered on mood primers – including early livener Bicep’s ‘Rain’, whose incipient synth whirl provoked a bloke at a near-empty bar to literally punch the air – while Kincaid & Sinàl celebrated their fabric debut by perfuming Room 2 in robust bass surges and crinkling, alienated percussion. Liverpool’s Melé blended recently uncovered Armand Van Helden remixes with timeless house cuts, and &Me’s delicately textured and deceptively straightforward peaks & troughs configuration coyly enchanted Room 1, the melancholic piano which underpins many of his own tracks embodying an emotional avatar before each subsequently satisfying, and gorgeously understated, drop.
Forms’ debut coincided with Skream’s fabriclive mix launch party, permitting the Croydon producer to take Room 1’s helm for a climactic four-hour run-in. Although originally a vital exponent of dubstep’s formative years in the 00s, Skream’s tastes have since diversified and his set closely mirrored the Forms model; encompassing drone-centric slowburners; Finn’s instantly iconic 2017 galloper ‘Sometimes The Going Gets A Little Tough’; a hurtling remix of Talking Heads’ ‘Psycho Killer’ that severely ups the original’s BPM, and consequently, severely tests the rhythm of your karaoke memory; and – as is customary for fabriclive launches – extracts from his official release, including Alexkid’s behemoth ‘Yonqui’.
Last Friday’s big-name lineup was a relative outlier given the interlacing circumstances, but Forms’ next iteration – Friday 2nd February – suggests fabric are making good on their promise. Flaunting Manchester’s Calvin Clarke and Pirate Copy, Nottingham’s Latmun (recently crowned DJ Mag’s Best of British Breakthrough Producer 2017), and Leeds’ Darius Syrossian, signposts that dedication to locality. Meanwhile Hill signalled his particular enthusiasm for the 9th March show; “From the first run of shows, I think the Kompakt Records night on the 9th March stands out the most for me. I am a huge fan of Kompakt, and to have label head Michael Mayer play all night long back 2 back with Kolsch will be special. Not to mention rising star Big Miz, Dixon Avenue Basement Jams and Monki in Room 2 as well!”
The template of a genuinely beneficial initiative is starting to take, well, form.
Photos by Anna Wallington.