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Mathew Jonson Fabric 84 – Bespoke or Tesco Express?

You’ve probably read plenty of blurb about how this was recorded ‘Live’ during Fabric‘s 15th Birthday, that it was the highlight of the party etc etc, which is all relevant information but when everyone is just repeating the same thing its a little uninspiring, what we really want to know is this a mix worth investing 1hr 14mins of our time. Now if you are a Mathew Jonson fan you’re probably reading this having already purchased the LP and are just reassuring yourself that your initial assessment of its greatness is correct. So for those of us who dont have Mathew Jonson posters on our walls what do we think?

Truth is the mixtape doesn’t quite have the same impact as those legendary Renaissance and Northern Exposure mixes of 21+ years ago, a fact Sasha reflected on in his recent interview with RA around his RA.491 podcast. Back then less people were making mixes and even less people had access to the best records; in Sasha’s own words “we got to cherry pick all the big records that we’d been playing over the previous five years”. Therefore to create a timeless mix now is a much more challenging proposition, firstly you’ve got to work much harder to find those bespoke records, and secondly mixing them in a way that’s not been done before is like your mate entering the London Marathon, it kinda feels like popping out for milk at your local Tesco Express, where as 20 years running a marathon was really impressive.

Thankfully if Mathew has popped out for milk he has gone straight to the source. What sets Jonson apart from many other present day artists, giving him that bespoke edge that Sasha of 21 years ago also had, is that he can cherry pick music that no one else has. You only have to look at the track listing to notice that almost half of the tracks are unreleased. Obviously the ability to cherry pick is not sufficient to ensure a quality mix, but like Sasha’s legendary mixes Jonson has an acute ear for sound and form, making this a highly recommended listen. However it should be said that unlike those legendary mixes of old it doesn’t have that ‘of the moment feel to it’ and for that reason it is unlikely to establish itself as one of those rare era defining moments, that said, it is still well worth your attention.


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