|Album Review: Fabric presents: Chase & Status RTRN II FABRIC|
Chase & Status
RTRN || FABRIC
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In the final weeks of September, Chase & Status unveiled the explosive and gritty single "Engage" in anticipation of their just released mix Fabric presents: Chase & Status RTRN II FABRIC mix. The hard-hitting track is one of the four unheard singles from the trio that will be featured on the project, comprised of forty-four tracks and an eight track double vinyl of myriad variants of Drum and Bass. To accompany the single, Chase & Status enlisted Billy Seeberg to direct a highly nostalgic music video to remind us of the euphoric spiritual prowess of Jungle music, filmed inside London's iconic club Fabric.
"Engage" features a vocal sample from the Jamaican dancehall artist Shabba Ranks which carries the groove of the track alongside a voluptuous Jump Up bass-line and infectious high-pitched drum breaks. Animated and punchy, it largely mimics in sound their critically acclaimed 2019 album RTRN II JUNGLE which made waves in drum and bass circles; celebrating the influential effect that Jungle music has had on the sound of UK dance music today.
Interestingly, the intrinsic connections between the origins of Jungle music within the UK and its present trajectory are explored and embraced within the music video. Keenly, Billy moulds archive footage from 90s warehouse raves and dancehall events of the late 80's with freehand shots of Chase & Status in a brightly coloured warehouse. You guessed it - that warehouse is the iconic and beloved Fabric, a venue that is truly at the heart of London's dance music scene.
In times like these, watching this video is like a double-edged sword: on one hand, it reminds you of the joy and euphoria of clubbing to energetic rave music, though, on the flip-side, remembering nights that are temporarily put on pause feels like an unnerving pang to the gut. Billy comments on his directorial vision and intention behind the music video:
"With "Engage" I wanted to capture the electrifying, physical reaction that Jungle music has on people; regardless of age, background, heritage or lifestyle. As a 19 year old filmmaker, I didn't live through the 90's when the original pioneers of Jungle were making their first statements in the industry; but nonetheless I have a deep appreciation for the genre and its cultural origins. That is why the video blends archival, oldskool footage with new visuals; it is to represent not only where the music has come from but where artists like Chase & Status are taking to"
On top of the "Engage" single and music video, Chase & Status prepared a mix of over an hour of different types of Drum and Bass including Jungle, Jump Up, melodic and hardstep amongst others. It includes selections from some of Drum and Bass' most legendary as well as up-and-coming artists across the globe, some of which include DJ Rap, Shy FX, Bou and Wax Doctor. The mix never borders on tacky, and instead oozes with energy, charisma and spirit. A favourite of mine is Down 4 by Clipz, a hardstyle Drum and Bass number that penetrates through the mix with R&B vocals, a gleeful track that does not take itself too seriously while also making it impossible to sit still.
After 20 years as an electronic music institution, Fabric is refreshing their creative output with a series of quarterly releases which focus on a more diverse range of music. This mix is part of this restructuring, boosting the vitality of the renowned club and label. Chase & Status themselves comment on the importance of the prodigal venue and label:
"Fabric is such an intrinsic part of British music and nightclub culture. Its energy is electric. Following on from our RTRN II JUNGLE album, we hope that this mix captures some of that energy that inspires us again and again to do what we do"
It's safe to say that this mix certainly captures the energy of Chase & Status' live and DJ sets. While the streaming version can never replace the real life rave version, it is a welcome transient pill of nostalgic euphoria and energy. It reminds us of the social bonds and emotional connections formed while listening to jungle music out at a rave, where the most important thing is the music. It always is.
Stream Chase & Status RTRN II Fabric here