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Club Review

Reviewed: FRRC – Frequency Resonance Remote Control – Ricardo Villalobos & Craig Richards at fabric

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If you’re a fan of mind bending, avant-garde styles of electronic music then when one of Ricardo Villalobos & Craig Richards all night sessions at fabric get announced it’s one to mark in the calendar. The innovative pair constantly push both new and old music forward in original ways, from minimal that creates a groove like a heartbeat, outer worldly electro or deep house that raises both hands and smiles.

These nights always feature long set times, allowing you to become totally absorbed in the story they tell behind the decks and allowing them to explore every deep corner of their record collections. Often I find myself wishing I could spend a day with either of them, being taken on a guided tour of their libraries in what would no doubt be an education for any music lover. Unfortunately, it’s only nights like this where I’ll be able to get a glimpse into them. Tonight was no different, with Craig taking the helm 2-5, Ricardo 5-9 and then a special b2b from 9-close.

Photography © OnlyByNght

Arriving in Farringdon the queue was long as anticipated and there was a buzz of excitement in the air, it was made up of a friendly and diverse blend of all ages and people from all walks of life, from vinyl obsessives to new found rave addicts. The positivity and depth of this music can appeal to anyone, even if from afar it may appear abstract.

Room 1 always fascinates me and it feels like how a proper club should. From the DJ friendly booth to the dancing friendly floor, all elements are catered for. The Martin Audio rig is tuned to perfection with crisp highs and rumbling, chest pounding lows. Regardless of the healthy scene of new spaces to dance in London, this is still one of the finest. Walking into it Craig already had people in the palm of his hand, with the pit encompassing him full of moving bodies to the sounds of driving techno featuring the deepest of grooves and plenty of robotic and menacing vocals, open minds throughout were prepared to embark on the journey that they were going to be carried through.

Photography © OnlyByNght

Every time I see Ricardo I’m always in awe, at the combination of tunes, the mixing style and the range of sounds that he plays with such aplomb, leaving jaws on the floor as much as it creates an enchanting energy and a crowd that are always completely under his spell. Many times during his four hours on the decks he changed the tempo of the music completely, sometimes giving the crowd room to breathe, then whipping them up into a frenzy and frequently doing things that left people with no idea where they were at all. As he flicked at the faders in his trademark style and moved around the airy booth with panache, his loving followers pulsated and levitated under the lasers, engulfed in the rhythm.

Photography © OnlyByNght

The vibe created was that of a family coming together again, looking at strangers with delight as if you knew them like a good friend as your eyes met after a new mesmerising tune came into the mix. This is the pleasure and community that can be created when the ingredients of a night all come together and the crowd shows a common understanding for music that isn’t easily digestible, but totally rewarding. Of course, some of his classic tracks also made an appearance, the unrelenting ‘Logohitz’ has always been a favourite with the early Sunday morning crew over the years and it was once again soaked up into the pores of the fabric faithful.

Photography © OnlyByNght

As it reached the more hazy hours of 8 am Ricardo really started to come into his own. One of my highlight tunes came when he introduced a playful track, increasing the bpm of it ever so gradually over a long period, before dropping it into an extremely slow, trappy beat, with the fattest bass to test the sound system to the sheer limit. Whistles and cheers surrounded the 360 degrees of the booth as I floated on the sheer weight of the music.

Going b2b in the final hour both Craig and Ricardo ensured that those who thought for a minute that they didn’t have energy to continue found that little last drop to continue right through to the end. Ricky dropping tunes like untitled bombs under Shed’s ‘Wax’ alias, with glorious stabs and swung hi-hats, whilst Craig upped things further with high octane electro, a genre that he continues to explore and wow audiences with. Even those stood up on the terrace and on the balcony above continued to show their appreciation in constant movement. The two DJs remarkably always keep you guessing as to what is coming next and arguably are at the best they ever have been, this is testament to the fact that they both embody the spirit of dance music.

Photography © OnlyByNght

Walking out into the mid-morning daylight it felt once again as though the most special of experiences had been created, you had been part of another piece of history in a club that will always hold a place in the hearts and minds of those that live and breathe forward thinking electronic music. It makes me proud that this pillar of dance music culture still stands tall in this country and proves that freedom and diversity mean a lot to people. After some were worried that the recent rebranding including a temporary black out signaled the end of the club, this night proved that it is well and truly still alive.

Long live fabric!

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