hile Tiefschwarz’s second full-length, Eat Books, was cancered with a barrage of guest singers and perhaps a sound too deeply comfortable with electroclash, the brothers Ali and Basti Schwarz have always been savvy mix and comp conductors. Both the multi-faceted A Little Help for Your Friends and Misch Masch nurtured the duo’s playful talents for putting everything from electro to tech-house and slithering minimal under the scope and turning out consistently compelling sets. In classic form on the latest installment of the Fabric series, the Stuttgart duo bring their seedy DJ talents to the mix for one of Fabric’s better selections of late. And really, Tiefschwarz??? Why’d it take so long, Fabric?
After the relatively spatial introduction of Louderbach AKA Troy Pierce’s vocal-diced “Grace (Anxiety)” and the synth-glow of Claude Vonstroke’s “Whose Afraid of Detroit?” the duo steals down into the cellar for darker, more insidious fare. M.A.N.D.Y.’s remix of “Damage” is slinky and rapturous at once, while Touane’s “Bassic” is the mix’s early floor-filler, a shady slab of tech-house that sets the hour at peak for the first time.
Following the early summit, Tiefschwarz brings the noir with Thomas Schumacher’s “Rotor” and Night on Earth’s “Rondell” before chaining you in the cauldrons with the cemented plinks and plonks of Gummihz’s “A.A.K.N.Y.” Ichundu’s “Hey” begins with a moment of Eastern bell-laden calm before giving out to a heated throb of beats and cascading tones, and “Freefall” by Sleeper Thief is perhaps the set’s most aerial run with its Detroit synth patterns and tangled melody. Depeche Mode’s “John the Revelator (Dave Is in the Disco Dub)” steps backward a bit, riding its tingling electro patterns for too long before running out of ideas and repeating the equation, one of the mix’s few deflators.
After the peak-time heavies, Tiefschwarz closes with the criminal disco of Riton’s “The Hammer of Thor” and Roman Flugel’s stuttering remix of Kate Wax’s “Beetles and Spiders.” Where “Grace” began with a voice, gasping and garbled against a throb, “Beetles and Spiders” is patiently nocturnal, waiting as the moon shifts through its phases to dance in the neon. It’s a perfect set closer, cold and gothic and full of enough sly warning and intrigue to ensure your return, for a mix which, if you want to pull at threads, could be accused of reaching for the summit a bit too often, with not enough space and spell to allow much release from the apexes and one which lacks the duo’s sense of play and irony. But given the duo’s obvious aptitude for mixes and the fact this was for Fabric, that seems like not seeing the forest for the saplings.