fabric presents Helena Hauff

Various Artists
fabric presents Helena Hauff

In a sleek, digital world where artificial intelligence looms, godlike, on the horizon, Helena Hauff’s resolutely old-school electro sounds like a love letter to an era when robots still creaked and rusted, oil cans forever at the ready. The Hamburg DJ’s fabric presents mix boils down her style to its gritty essence of analog synths and whip-cracking 808s. Despite the early appearance of a 1991 rarity from Clarence G—better known as the late James Stinson, of Detroit’s iconic Drexciya—much of the mix is drawn from the 2010s and 2020s, yet virtually everything here could pass for a product of the early ’90s. Few mixes are this carefully selected; most of Hauff’s picks feature similarly gravelly bass tones and dry, scabrous drums, to the extent that many of the tracks could pass for emissions from a single hive mind. Signal Type’s “In Abyss,” from 2008, sounds uncannily like Warp icons Two Lone Swordsmen, whose Keith Tenniswood fortuitously turns up in his Radioactive Man guise just five tracks later. While there are no major shifts in tone or mood, the energy level gradually rises across the set’s 77-minute runtime—that is, until MicroControlUnit’s mournful “Save the World (MCU’s Apocalypse Mix)” paves the way for a rarer-than-hens’-teeth Autechre remix released on vinyl in 1999 and rarely heard from since. The future isn’t what it used to be, but fabric presents Helena Hauff offers a tantalizing glimpse of its faded glory.

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