12 December 2010
Fabric 55 - Shackleton
Shackleton has always relied on samples to enhance the atmospheric nature of his music, and opener Come Up stitches together repetitions of "beginning to come up" with shamanic wailing plucked from some future dystopian tribescape, creating a taut balance between rational, medical sounds and the drugged-out labyrinth of the trip. Continuing the lysergic tone, the dense layers of Moon over Joseph's Burial warp and twist around each other, disorientating and fugging the brain, until a barely recognisable Hypno Angel seizes the momentum via a distressed, ominous wailing. It's a disquieting drop-in, and could as easily be a call to prayer, orgasmic cries, or tears of sadness amplified and distorted. Like Lynch's dream-logic, the multiple possibilities place the listener in a state of perpetual uncertainty and disquiet.
The voice of the rational world breaks through again on Negative Thoughts, with a seemingly far-off voice explaining how to exorcise negativity, before the swirling wall of sub-bass and shifting percussion washes the listener away into a new dreamscape. Continuing through Death is not Final, Deadman, and his new singles Man on a String I and II, Shackleton carries the listener through kabbalistic mysticism, future dysopias and scorched nuclear winters, before finally arriving at the potent Massacre as the climax of the disc. With it's readings from the Book of Revelation, sickening sub-bass and frenetic percussive rhythms, it's a fitting climax to a post-modernist epic; the declarations that "I am the first and the last, the alpha and omega" leaving the listener utterly stranded in the wasteland, before Stripped bubbles away in a mess of voices muttering binary code.
This is undoubtedly one of Fabric's most interesting mixes to date, combining an epic narrative with devastating tunes and dark machinations to create the kind of post-modern headfuck rarely found in dance music.
Shackleton on Radiomagnetic