As an artist, Special Request, aka Paul Woolford, has crossed a multitude of spheres spanning genres, decades and scenes. A wealth of musical influence in his childhood provided strong cultivation of his character, being born of a jazz drummer and growing up with his adoptive father’s fascinating record collection, along with an innate passion to create from his early years, paving the way for him to craft an intense musical path. Radio was a key part of his influences; as a teenager he was constantly listening, absorbing and recording sounds he found interesting, something that rapidly escalated into an obsession when he discovered pirate stations by complete accident.
He has produced under various aliases and experimented with multiple labels, forging links that span from Carl Craig's Planet E Communications in Detroit, through to London's XL Recordings, Gerd Janson's Running Back in Germany, and many more notable points in between. His music has repeatedly been used by various fashion houses to soundtrack runway shows, most recently Fendi for their SS2017 collection. His 2005 break-out release 'Erotic Discourse’ (recorded under the name Bobby Peru - a nod to the influence of multi-disciplinary artist David Lynch), was a record that cut across scenes, influenced multiple producers the world over and still sounds boldly futuristic 12 years later. The success of this recording led Woolford to question the structures and significance of the music industry, and the outcome of this questioning was a fevered period of recording that has not stopped since. This venture became Special Request, and after releasing 3 white label 12"s, he signed to Houndstooth in January 2013.
Paul was first invited to play at fabric in 2004 alongside D’Julz & Martin Landsky in Room 1. Since then he has played all three rooms in various contexts and he recalls some of his fondest memories have been playing both Room 1 and 2 on the same Saturday night, playing for Metalheadz as Special Request, very late techno sessions in Room 2 and also playing Room 3 in an all-night b2b with Howie B. He could never hold preference between these, it was equally enjoyable for him to open up Room 1 as it was banging it out in Room 2 in the very late hours or playing dub in Room 3. His musical versatility and broad tastes finding a welcoming home within the cavernous brickwork. He finds it impossible to describe his relationship with those rooms and felt a really strong emotional charge walking back into the venue after it’s re-opening recently.
Following a slightly surreal and cavernous beginning, the classic UK techno of Caustic Window (an alias of Richard D. James - Aphex Twin) opens up proceedings and laying the foundation of the mix. The momentum builds as the ruthless tones of 214 ‘Frostbite’ signify a turn into darker waters. The murky tension sets the scene for the first of six new Special Request tracks, ‘Redrum’. Then, the lush emotive ‘Aquilae’ and a voice recording from Cristian Vogel's ‘Atomic Layers’ is a pause to breathe before the descent into the second half, where we travel rapidly through various shades of jungle, drum & bass and noise, from the dubwise movement of Forest Drive West, to classic Dillinja, and beyond.
The apex of the mix is the furious drum & bass of DJ Trace & Nico counterpointed by Keith Fullerton Whitman's ‘Stereo Music For Serge Modular Part Two’. Throughout the mix a variety of techniques are deployed – the frequencies being cut down to bottom-end only, spinbacks, straight channel flips, and a slow-wheel up at one certain point.
01. Aleksi Perälä - UK74R1619170
02. Special Request - Telepathic Dog
03. Caustic Window - Cordialatron
04. DJ Stingray - Solitude
05. Plastician - The Lift
06. Special Request - Psychic Vampires
07. Claro Intelecto - Peace Of Mind
08. Polygon Window - Audax Powder
09. Abul Mogard - Desires Are Reminiscences By Now
10. Dexter - No More
11. 214 - Frostbite
12. Alden Tyrell - Obsession Btz
13. Stanislav Tolkachev - See You Tomorrow
14. Special Request – Redrum (Thrash Mix)
15. Stefan Vincent - Aquilae
16. Special Request - The True Knot
17. Cristian Vogel - Atomic Layers
18. Shapednoise Feat. Justin K Broadrick - Enlightenment
19. Dillinja - Deadly Deep Subs (Remix) [2015 Remaster]
20. Forest Drive West - Turtle Break
21. Special Request - Replicant
22. Rood Project - Thunder
23. Special Request - Stairfoot Lane Bunker
24. DJ Trace & Nico - Monkeys (DJ Future & Eric Electric VIP)
25. Keith Fullerton Whitman - Stereo Music For Serge Modular Part Two
26. Nolige - Adrenaline (2016 Edit)
27. ASC - (Event #4)
28. Mika Vaino - Omertà
29. Carl Craig – Technoloambient (Max Dub)
30. Abul Mogard - Desires Are Reminiscences By Now
FABRICLIVE 91 will be released on 24th March 2017. Order your copy here.
Special Request has his launch night in Farringdon on Friday 31st March 2017. Full line up and tickets here.