We’ve been hearing about this for a few years now. The epochal second album by Birmingham’s Fashiøn from 1982, “Fabrique” had been a bolt from the blue that took the high tech production acumen of Zeus B. Held [famed for the electroslink of Gina X Performance] and strapped it onto the jazz/funk songs of Dave [De] Harris. Harris was the band’s second of three frontmen over their three album arc. At first I bought the “Love Shadow” 2×12″ shortly after its release. Just to have more Gina Kikoine and Zeus B. Held in my home.
Then, a few years later, I bought a copy of “Fabrique” and quickly determined that it was the best sounding production ever! “Fabrique” was clearly the follow through on from the seminal “Nice Mover” album that rocked my 1981, but hard, when I came across a copy. If anything, “Fabrique” managed to take the achievement of 1978’s “Nice Mover” and to move the needle to the extreme margins of the synthfunk spectrum. Resulting in a mind-blowing synthesis of funk syncopation and the apex of analog studio technology crashing headfirst into the digital dawn. Resulting in an album that deserved to sit on a shelf with early Prince, though the production and arrangements here managed to put even him into the shade. Well, maybe except for “Sexuality” from “Controversy.”
Harris had recently built a campaign to re-issue his Zee album with Rick Wright of Pink Floyd and that had taken a year or two to happen. Next his attention turned to this bad boy. I first heard stirrings that Harris was making the ultimate “Fabrique” box over four years ago. I’ve been patient as I know that good things take time. The Zee “Identity” reissue took longer than expected. It happens with reissue programs. I imagined it would be the same for “Fabrique” and didn’t want a rush job in any case! Not with an album this perfect and powerful. The MusicGlue page for “Fabrique De Luxe” went online for pre-order last November and I put my order in at the end of January. I got the message that it had shipped on February 27th and within two weeks, it had flown from its UK home [at no little expense] to my doorstep quickly and without incident.
For a start, the package was very impressive. Matte black with a white silkscreened title on the cover with a dual layer flight case construction with precision cut foam where everything fitted into place with finger divots to pluck them out of the case. The top layer had ribbons to lift it out of the box; revealing the CD layer below. The build quality of the box was extremely sturdy. Far beyond what the norms are for such ultraboxes that I normally see. The attention to detail was off the charts. For a band who famously said that their music was accompaniment for “screwing and drugs,” I half expected to see traces of coke in the packaging.
The 60 page “booklet” was amazing. It was as if the editors of MOJO Magazine had produced an issue dedicated just to one of my very favorite albums ever. The forward by Harris himself set the tone and the liner note essay by commenter Bryn Tilly found yet another person who loved to wax eloquent on the sybaritic peak that this album represented in appropriately glowing terms that I didn’t have to write for a change. Then the full lyrics were provided. The lyric pages had multiple QR codes that linked the song to multiple online videos to provide full multimedia coverage from each page! Very thorough. And what must have been every story ever run in print contemporaneously on the album had been meticulously scanned in high quality and reproduced at the highest possible standard. The hefty “booklet” is not likely to be surpassed as the final word on “Fabrique.” At least until Tilley’s promised book on the album [from which his liner notes were adapted from] reaches our eager eyes. At this point we might ask… what’s the music like?
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