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Akufen - Fabric 17

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Artist: Akufen

Album: Fabric 17

Label: Fabric

Review date: Nov. 18, 2004

The seventeenth installment of London dance dungeon Fabric’s DJ-mix series finds Montreal’s Marc Leclair (a.k.a. Akufen) ably manning the toggle on a nocturnal careen through 21 tracks of thump deep into the dawn. A leading researcher in the field of microsampling, Leclair picks apart available frequencies for bit-sized content that he then strings together in clotted grooves. Though he has delivered only one long-player – 2002’s My Way (Force Inc.) – his crate-filling oeuvre of 12"s certainly have garnered him quite a reputation. And though none of his own material appear on Fabric 17, the entire disc is singularly structured.

That Leclair’s hour-plus of pump and flicker is pieced together from records dropped at the millennial turn onwards is itself a testament to the delectable diversity of machine music available in the last few years. Opening back in the double-0 with Philippe Cam’s gurgling yet sinewy suave “LFO Drive,” Leclair skips between years and nano-funk formats seamlessly. Looser than Kompakt’s steady bot flow, the bulk of Fabric 17 squelches and squeals with wobbly abandon.

Leclair’s modular montage bumps as platinum pings and synth snipes rally on piston chugs and steel snaps. The hallmark motif is the recurring clusters of closely clipped found-sound snippets migrating between the digital currents. With the exception of the well-tired camp of Senor Coconut – misplaced here with “Smoke on the Water” - Fabric 17 coasts throughout with molecular might.

The occasional sprinkling of diva glitter tarts up the coagulated circuitry (see Mossa’s “Bukolik” and Crakhaus’s “Ample Slacks” among others). Anything but minimal, these platinum loops skitter on subtle irregularities and gradual gravitational shifts. Luciano & Serafin’s “Yaki Soba” pulses on parallel streams – laser lollop squiggling atop basement beats. Rather than ease on the pedal for the final comedown, Leclair rides to the 72nd minute with the sprung etherea of Stephen Beaupré’s “My Old Lady” which stops the CD seemingly mid-spin and restores the stale silence of empty rooms where just before tangled holograms throbbed.

By Bernardo Rondeau

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