Carl Craig 

Fabric 25

Carl Craig's approach has, from the outset, been far-reaching. Holding it down in techno's very birthplace, Detroit, the DJ and producer segues from house and hip-hop to techno and drum 'n' bass via ecstatic/Ecstatic fury (his label name isn't Planet-E for nothing). His latest mixdown, Fabric 25, puts Craig front and center, laughing and toasting throughout; he opens with crunkster firebrands the Ying Yang Twins, their otherwise blasé "Wait (The Whisper Song)" oddly fitting for the head-opening journey Carl conducts thereafter. Moving between soulful vocal cuts (Trickski's jamming "Sweat") to guitar-driven percussion (Africanism's "Imbalaye"), Craig's beat is on lockdown. Too much breadth can be unnerving, but here even less tasty cuts (Rayon's for example) are forgivable in the larger scope. For the most part, Fabric 25 is rounded by floor-stomping, ear-splitting grooves -- the very domain over which Carl Craig claims ownership. In this terrain, he continues to thrive.

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