PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.


Cut Copy: Fabriclive 29

Cut Copy seem like the kind of DJs who are happy merely to play good records.

Cut Copy

Fabriclive 29

Label: Fabric
US Release Date: 2006-09-05
UK Release Date: 2006-08-14

As has been copiously documented here and elsewhere, dance music is perhaps the most fashion-conscious field in the whole of music. New sounds emerge, are discovered, become popular and then subsequently fade from the spotlight in about the time it took for me to write this paragraph. Or, at least, this has been the rule for much of the music's history. The past few years, while they have certainly seen their share of faddish artists and "movements", have also seen a rather uncharacteristic entrenching of a handful of established styles and motifs in the dance music firmament. Certainly, the reemergence of techno as a popular and creative force with which to be reckoned was both welcome and overdue -- and the idea of techno as the leading light of cerebral electronic music shows no signs of abating anytime soon. Likewise, just as techno has reasserted its racial dominance in the electronic music hierarchy, so to has the very notion of generic distinctions -- at least of the type that used to so rigorously stratify the dance music world -- faded from its place in the public imagination.

We are here presented with an artifact that offers a twofold emphasis on this new, considered era in dance history. The Fabric brand has proven to be perhaps the most durable mix series of the current era: whereas previous stalwarts such as K7's DJ Kicks and the redoubtable Global Underground have gradually faded into the background, Fabric has consistently scored in the new millennium, establishing a brand built merely on the unifying concept of quality across as many disparate genres as the electronic music world presents. The power of the brand is such that it can feasibly present mixes by both hot young talent and established artists, bridging genres ranging from hardcore drum & bass and independent hip-hop on through progressive house and techno. At this point, the series has amassed enough positive connotations that a new artist can effectively announce themselves through a spectacular mix for the Fabric or Fabriclive series.

Such is the case, at least in my admittedly limited experience, with Cut Copy. The sound is distinctively classic, a seamless mixture of a number of long-established genres into something pleasingly rounded. This, too, is a welcome development: Cut Copy seem like the kind of DJs who are happy merely to play good records, not merely to play whatever the latest hot sounds of their particular scene may happen to be. And what is this sound, anyway? The retro cool of the Gomma label, represented here by Munk and Who Made Who, two prominent standard-bearers of the modern disco revival? Or perhaps the new-school electro-funk represented by MSTRKRFT? Or the French school of Justice (represented her by the Erol Aiken remix of their smash "Waters of Nazareth") and, of course, Daft Punk (who appear with their uncharacteristically low-key "Face to Face")? Electro demimonde Tiga shows up with his remix of Soulwax's "E Talking", and even the DFA show up, with their mix of Goldfrapp's "Slide In".

There is no unifying factor to the multitude of different styles on display here, save for one: they all have a strong driving beat that carries smoothly from track to track, producing the kind of seamlessly eclectic (if occasionally retro) mix that has never really gone out of fashion, even if sterling examples have sometimes been thin on the ground. Tellingly, the mix contains a full 25 tracks, with some tracks almost five minutes long and some as brief as a minute. There is little patience for long, meditative passages -- something like the thirteen-minute-long DFA remix of "Slide" is cut down to a scanty three, focusing solely on a spacy, slightly psychedelic passage while foregoing those parts of the track deemed superfluous. Old school heads may tsk in disapproval, but this is how mixes sound in the modern era: every bit a product of the short-attention-span world of iPods on constant shuffle. The moment a track ceases to be interesting, it ceases to be valuable, and it's on to the next without so much as a blink.

Electronic music has always been strongly associated with the concept of the future, but right now Cut Copy seem firmly ensconced in the present. There are few barriers between disparate styles of music that can't be breached by open minds -- funky electro, retro disco, classic house and deadpan new wave can coexist in perfect harmony with surprisingly heady contributions from rock music forebears Roxy Music ("Angel Eyes") and even Sonic Youth (in their Ciccone Youth guise, with "Into the Groovey"). Perhaps this is the new fashion: to be totally indifferent to the idea of fashion, playing only the music you like regardless of whether or not it's already been out for five or twenty-five years. All things considered, it sounds pretty hot.


Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.





Artemis Is the Latest Jazz Supergroup

A Blue Note supergroup happens to be made up of women, exclusively. Artemis is an inconsistent outing, but it dazzles just often enough.


Horrors in the Closet: A Closet Full of Monsters

A closet full of monsters is a scary place where "straight people" can safely negotiate and articulate their fascination and/or dread of "difference" in sexuality.


'Wildflowers & All the Rest' Is Tom Petty's Masterpiece

Wildflowers is a masterpiece because Tom Petty was a good enough songwriter by that point to communicate exactly what was on his mind in the most devastating way possible.


Jazz Composer Maria Schneider Takes on the "Data Lords" in Song

Grammy-winning jazz composer Maria Schneider released Data Lords partly as a reaction to her outrage that streaming music services are harvesting the data of listeners even as they pay musicians so little that creativity is at risk. She speaks with us about the project.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 100-81

PopMatters' best albums of the 2000s begin with a series of records that span epic metal, ornate indie folk, and a terrifying work of electronic music.


The Power of Restraint in Sophie Yanow, Paco Roca, and Elisa Macellari's New Graphic Novels

The magical quality that makes or breaks a graphic novel lies somewhere in that liminal space in which art and literature intersect.


'People of the City' Is an Unrelenting Critique of Colonial Ideology and Praxis

Cyprian Ekwensi's People of the City is a vivid tale of class struggle and identity reclamation in the shadows of colonialism's reign.


1979's 'This Heat' Remains a Lodestone for Avant-Rock Adventure

On their self-titled debut, available for the first time on digital formats, This Heat delivered an all-time classic stitched together from several years of experiments.


'The Edge of Democracy' and Parallels of Political Crises

Academy Award-nominated documentary The Edge of Democracy, now streaming on Netflix, lays bare the political parallels of the rise of Bolsonaro's Brazil with Trump's America.


The Pogues' 'The BBC Sessions 1984-1986' Honors Working-Class Heroes

The Pogues' BBC Sessions 1984-1986 is a welcome chapter in the musical story of these working-class heroes, who reminded listeners of the beauty and dignity of the strong, sooty backs upon which our industrialized world was built.


Mary Halvorson Creates Cacophony to Aestheticize on 'Artlessly Falling'

Mary Halvorson's Artlessly Falling is a challenging album with tracks comprised of improvisational fragments more than based on compositional theory. Halvorson uses the various elements to aestheticize the confusing world around her.


15 Overlooked and Underrated Albums of the 1990s

With every "Best of the '90s" retrospective comes a predictable list of entries. Here are 15 albums that are often overlooked as worthy of placing in these lists, and are too often underrated as some of the best records from the decade.


'A Peculiar Indifference' Takes on Violence in Black America

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie's scrupulous investigation of the impacts of violence on Black Americans, A Peculiar Indifference, shows the damaging effect of widespread suffering and identifies an achievable solution.


20 Songs From the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.


Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.


The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.


Flirting with Demons at Home, or, When TV Movies Were Evil

Just in time for Halloween, a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber presents sparkling 2K digital restorations of TV movies that have been missing for decades: Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970).


Magick Mountain Are Having a Party But Is the Audience Invited?

Garage rockers Magick Mountain debut with Weird Feelings, an album big on fuzz but light on hooks.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.