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Surgeon – Fabric 53 review

If Martyn’s lauded Fabric 50 mix dipped its toe in the dubstep/techno crossover pool, Surgeon’s effort strips down to its Speedo’s and jumps in the deep end. And whereas Martyn approached the mix from a dubstep perspective, Surgeon’s status as one of the UK’s most revered techno heads for nigh on 15 years means we are in for one hell of a ride.

Fusing rugged, raw beats, Surgeon – real name Anthony Child – takes us on a relentless journey that unites the work of Scuba, Ital Tek and Instra:mental with Mark Broom, Robert Hood, James Ruskin and a healthy slew of his own productions. There is the kind of complex, continuous layering that techno allows, and on several occasions Child simply poaches the drum parts from a track in order to toughen things up. It works too, particularly when his own “Bad Hands Part 2” melts into Robert Hood’s “Superman” early on.

Never before has Child’s chosen moniker appeared so apt, with seemingly disparate beats expertly cut and sliced into one flowing narrative. Indeed the mixing is so sharp and relentless, changing up between 4×4 and clattering broken beats, that few tracks last longer than a couple of minutes. The bone shattering drop into the Al Tourettes & Appleblim remix of Planetary Assault System’s “X Speaks To X” manages to stand out in a mix full of punishing breaks; it also happens to be a techno track remixed by two (predominantly) dubstep artists, thus serving as a neat snapshot of what this compilation is all about. To Child, of course, this is all techno – 2010 style.

Aaron Coultate