The Spank Rock hip-hop collective — three producers cum deejays plus an emcee — has been widely praised for its genre-bending, nasty fusion of party rap and electro-sleaze. So you might think a Spank Rock mix would be a wild, eclectic affair. Think again. FabricLive 33, Spank Rock’s contribution to the FabricLive mix series, doesn’t straddle diverse genres the way you might expect.
On paper, the track list seems to boast considerable variety, with twenty-seven tracks spread across a seventy-minute mix. But despite the broad(ish) range of artists, the mix maintains a steady course, sonically speaking. For better or worse, listeners are in for a consistent stream of artfully trashy dance grooves, with a few chunks of hip-hop floating in the middle. Tracks by Daft Punk (“Technologic”), Dominatrix (“The Dominatrix Sleeps Tonight”), and Spank Rock’s own remix of CSS’s “Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death from Above” set the tone.
Though lacking in sonic variety, the mix is cleverly assembled. Tracks from later in the track list are “teased” in early transitions while bits and pieces from earlier cuts reprise later on. But the mix is slightly marred by a few clumsy transitions and the fact that its energy peters out toward the end. At about fifty minutes in, the plodding Maurice Fulton remix of Hot Chip’s “Over and Over” has an effect reminiscent of a cold shower.
In fact, the mix is generally lacking in the Sexy. At its best, Spank Rock’s music has a rough, horny edge to it. It’s music to fuck to; FabricLive 33 seems more like music for doing laundry on a Sunday afternoon. There’s nothing wrong with that, per se, but we really can’t be expected to “shake it ’til our dicks turn racist” at the Laundromat. Shaking it in this manner is a surefire way to get thrown out of the Laundromat. Trust me on this.
Considering the visceral appeal of Spank Rock’s original material and live act, you wonder if the boys couldn’t have provided a mix with a higher thrill count. Other than the undeniably genius inclusion of Yes’s “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” the mix is woefully short of highlights. FabricLive 33 is competent and at times enjoyable, but it’s hard not to think the group could have delivered something with a little more personality.