I have always been a fan of Mark Farina as well as a fan of the Fabric series. I am glad the two have met to create a fun and funky set that demonstrates what house music can be all about. Fabric 40 has hints of old school hip-hop, and danceable beats that remind you of a cool Chicago or underground New York house party where you can intently listen to the music, chill out with it in the background or pump it loud enough for the neighbors to call the police.
Unfortunately, there are quite a few weaks spots on the disk that really don't live up to either Mark Farina or Fabric. It seems that he lets the computer take over and he doesn't control the music, instead letting tracks linger a bit too long, or become a bit too repetitious.
I enjoyed the hints of a playas ball, that invoked visions of runways divas sashaying down a catwalk at some underground fashion show. The imagery is good and it sounds like he is having fun.
Some of the hip-hop/house elements seem a bit contrived, such as the continual (and continuously annoying) "pick up what I'm puttin' down..." vocal just grains on the nerves. Even the otherwise clever straight vocal voice-over of "many tunes were brought by colonists," history lesson gets old rather quickly. Annoying alarm clock sounds NEVER make a good mix [on Track #17] and make you reach for the skip button on the cd/mp3 player.
The cd gets 3 stars because when it is good, it is really fun; but when it is weak, it's pretty bad. If you are a Farina fan, you should add it to your collection, but be prepared to skip a few tracks.