The FabricLive series starts 2011 in fine style by enlisting David Kennedy, better known as Ramadanman and Pearson Sound. Kennedy first broke into the Bass music scene in 2006, releasing numerous singles on many labels including Swamp 81, Hemlock, Aus and his own Hessle Audio, the label he co-runs with Ben UFO and Pangaea. Kennedy hasn't limited himself to Dubstep, he's also released House, Techno and Drum & Bass tracks.
Kennedy's musical open-mindedness reflects his bewildering collection of 30 tracks for this mix, including 10 of his own under Ramadanman and Pearson Sound, some of which have never been released before. The tracks vary from Dubstep, House, Electro, Funky, Garage, Techno, Grime, Footwork and everything inbetween.
Standout tracks include guaranteed floor-fillers such as Julio Bashmore's 'Battle for Middle You', the superb S-X's 'Woo Riddim' mash-up with Ramadanman's 'Glut', Pearson Sound's remix of Joy Orbison's 'GR Etiquette' and some Electro brilliance from Bok Bok's remix of Girl Unit's 'IRL'. There's plenty of good tracks on the album, celebrating some of the pioneers of bass music such as Mala, Burial and Pinch to hot upstarts Addison Groove and Mr Mageeka. The only track that stood out like a sore thumb was Tiyiselani Vomaseve's 'Vanghoma', which just didn't sit comfortably with the rest of the mix.
The big surprise is that the mix is more restrained than the neck-shattering experience I was expecting, carefully segueing tracks, sometimes layering track upon track, seamlessly mixing one genre to another and gently building the momentum. Even at it's highest peaks, it's still quite a muted sound. But don't let this put you off as the mix is superb. The mixing of so many genres is spot on, though I think the mix would have benefited from fewer tracks to create a more focused mix.
Bass music has become extremely fragmented in the last year or 2, Kennedy reflects this diversity and delivers the sound of now with a mix that is as varied as it is fresh. Fabriclive 56 is not a groundbreaking mix, but it's solid enough to elevate David Kennedy aka Ramadanman & Pearson Sound to the top tiers of bass music.