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Jackmaster/Various – Fabriclive 57 review

In this day and age, it’s very rare for a DJ to achieve international success solely on the basis of his DJ skills. Thanks to promoters’ general reticence to book acts unless they’ve got a solid body of production work behind them – or at least one record to their name that punters may have heard of – plenty of brilliant DJs fail to break out of their home cities. For the art of DJing – an entirely separate skill from being able to knock a decent tune together – this has been one of the most depressing developments of recent times.

For those who still believe in DJing as a craft, the recent runaway success of Glaswegian party-starter Jack Revill is worthy of celebration. While much of his fame originally stemmed from his association with Glasgow’s hyped Numbers night and hot properties Rustie and Hudson Mohawke, his blossoming worldwide reputation has sprung from his immense qualities as a DJ; and, more specifically, an insatiable desire to rock a party hard.

Without a production career to fall back on, Revill – under his now familiar Jackmaster guise – has achieved almost cult status through his DJing exploits. To do that requires not just technical skills, but a keen ear for a tune and an ability to deliver when it matters. And in the case of a DJ, that’s pretty much every time he steps up to the decks. Of course, Revill doesn’t always get it right. Sometimes he gets too tied down in a particular genre, or is asked by promoters to simply play “bass music”. Sure, he can do that – and brilliantly – but his best sets are those where no boundaries are set – where he can display his ability to mix-it-up with the best of them. He’s at his mesmerising best when concentrating on the party, bottle of Buckfast in hand.

For those still unacquainted with this side of Revill’s approach, this debut Fabriclive mix should be essential listening. From start to finish, it’s a joyous, party-centric romp that barely pauses for breath. In typical Jackmaster fashion, Revill crams in an impressive 29 songs in 70 minutes, hopping between tracks and remixes by such disparate artists as Hud Mo, the Fantastic Aleems, Kim English, Radiohead, Aphex Twin, Doug Willis (aka veteran house producer Dave Lee), Sinden and DJ Funk. Along the way, he touches on everything from classic electro-funk and Motor City techno (UR and Model 500) to hands-aloft UK garage, ragging acid, boompty bass, original hardcore and obscure New York deep house. Grab a bottle of Bucky, don your dancing shoes and tuck in.

Matt Anniss