Craig Richards is seen as a true leader and innovator in the dance music world and, having been the backbone of Fabric in London for all its 15 year history, he has redefined the art of the resident DJ. An almost unparalleled dexterity behind the decks has seen him mix back-to-back with the very best in the game, adapting his style to gel with whoever’s headlining.
In both parts of this mix, the latest in Crosstown Rebels’s Get Lost series, Richards is most definitely headlining. Having danced to a good many of his sets, this is like dropping in on another, perfectly encapsulated for posterity. Right from the off, with JTC’s ‘Through The Looking Glass’, we’re thrown in at the deep and groovy end of the house spectrum, somewhere that we remain until near the very end of CD 1.
The transition into and out of Alexander Robotnick’s remix of Trans Mania’s ‘Boing, Boom, Jack’ marks the best moment of mixing across both CDs. Where most would lose momentum when that unexpected rolling bassline arrives, Richards is able to step it up a gear. He does a similar job in bringing in the next track – untitled in both name and artist but edited by Thorny Hill. A brilliant halfway marker is Steve Bug’s playful and almost haunted ‘Big Cheese From Wisconsin’, another track that is made to get you up and dancing.
As we approach the finish of the first part, dBRm’s ‘Darnley’ marks a change in favour of the more dubby and techy side of things. If CD 1 is the soundtrack to a party as the sun sets around you, getting deeper as time passes, then CD 2 is for peak time with the sun firmly below the horizon.
Decidedly techno throughout, this half of the mix explores a very different side to Richards, allowing him to flex his credentials as not just a purveyor of the fun, but the heady and interesting too. Standout moment here is the transition from Amfibian’s Pa Relax (Jark & Prongo Remix) into his own iconic track ‘Sleeping Rough’, whose main melody is constructed through an innovative use of vocals cuts. This is just one example, from many, of tracks from Craig’s own genre-bending label, The Nothing Special.
Of special mention, if only for its complete contrast to anything else on the mix, is the inclusion of STL’s Something Is Raw. Also included in Âme’s Fabriclive 42 mix, its floating electronic melody isn’t necessarily vintage Richards but, like many of the tracks on both mixes, it works!
It seems that Craig Richards’s strength in mixing and compiling lies in his ability to not be tied to one particular genre or mixing style, bringing in tracks in a variety of ways, from such a huge catalogue of varied genres. From collecting vinyl with the money he made from his own barbershop, to directing music at one of London’s premiere clubs, there are many strings to Richards’s bow and the beauty is he plays right in the heart of London every single weekend.