Fashiøn “Fabrique De Luxe” Ultrabox Hits The Streets [part 2]

Gonzo Multimedia | UK | CD | 2021 | HST563CD

Fashiøn: Fabrique [remastered] UK – CD [2021]

  1. Move On
  2. Love Shadow
  3. Steetplayer-Mechanik
  4. Dressed To Kill
  5. You Only Left Your Picture
  6. Something In Your Picture
  7. It’s Alright
  8. White Stuff [short cut]
  9. Do You Wanna Make Love
  10. Slow Blue

This album was primarily about sound. It has been crafted to attain a rich veneer of technological funk with every machine at their fingertips to build the songs, yet it exudes warmth if not a downright smoky vibe. “Move On” began with a fat analog sequencer loop before the galloping synth bass line jolted the album out of its starting blocks. Then the rhythm guitar licks of Dave Harris repeated a 4-count before the [straight from the showrooom floor] Simmons pads of Dik Davis added their implacable, four to the floor “thwacks” before the echo-laden rolls of the synthetic toms doubled up on the drumming. Finally, Martin Recchi’s bass guitar, set to stun, joined the band in full formation as they flew past the listener.

fashion - moveonUK7AThe groove they had established was a monster. Complex syncopation ensured total submission to the mood and beat by the time that Dave Harris began singing the restless, peripatetic lyric. This was night music. It seemed impossible to listen to this album at any time before twilight at the very least. It proffered a decadent techno-funk just made for cruising the slick, night streets of Berlin at 4:00 AM in your DeLorean. In a perfect world.

Vocoded call and response backing vocals pushed the funk quotient into the red. How could producer Zeus B. Held make it any funkier? How about flanging those vocoders! The chorus consisted of strident, synthetic synth horn stabs juxtaposed against the vocoders duetting with Harris singing the title, four to a bar. The middle eight was playing for keeps as the talkbox was used for maximum funk. Building into rolling swells of synth as the wave of sound crashed onto the shore of the chorus one more time. A crystalline synth portamento line rose into the stratosphere as the high energy level rushed straight up into the while light of infinity. Then the coda plateaued on a riff that we could cruise all night to. But that would have to wait for the 12″ mix. This was just a tease to get us in the mood.

fashion love shadow cover artThe mood changed dramatically for the second song. “Love Shadow” had been my entrée into the new sound of Fashiøn ca. 1982. It was a radical shift from the Post-Punk-cum-Reggae of the band’s 1979 debut. But that was a different band with a different vocalist/writer. “Love Shadow” was shimmery late-night pillow talk funk. Random waveforms bubbled spherically while the powerful bass lines were right up front with the drum pads. The jazzy guitar chords were accompanied by what sounded like heavily processed cougar howls. Dave Harris sounded coolly dispassionate as he recounted how he “can’t believe you’re leaving, can’t believe it’s true,” where the flanged guitar chords lacerated as he countered “surely you can give me a reason, was it something I said to you?”

The heady rush of the synths crashed like waves on the rocks as chorus swelled up like a swimmer breaking the surface of the water. Subtle string washes in the distance revealed a placidity amongst the turmoil of the here and now of the situation. The synthetic Simmons toms were in full dub overdrive and the rhythm guitar lines syncopating throughout this were miraculous in their delicacy. Once the song transitioned to the middle eight, marimba rondos, bass clarinet, and shaker set the mood for the song’s secret weapon; vocalist Gina Kikoine’s dryly deadpan give and take with Harris on the hows and whys of this failed romance. Then in the song’s coda, the swooning of the synths was once again matched by the cougar howls return as the bass clarinet took the song all the way out. The cut played out like Grace Jones meets Barry White on the battlefield of a breakup. It had an R+B vibe that had been processed through the Post-Punk filter.

Next: …Mechanik-al Musik

About postpunkmonk

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5 Responses to Fashiøn “Fabrique De Luxe” Ultrabox Hits The Streets [part 2]

  1. brynstar says:

    Epic! Lovin’ your words!

    Like

  2. “Grace Jones meets Barry White” — a brilliant comparison. Listening to “Love Shadow” now, I can’t believe Prince didn’t cover it at some point!

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      chasinvictoria – Let’s admit up front that Gina Kikoine all but invented the Grace Jones we know and love [but that’s another topic for another day…]

      But wait…there’s MORE!!! You DID know that in 1987 Dave Harris [still branded De Harris at the time] remixed and re-recorded a new version of “Love Shadow.”

      This came out on 7″ and 12″, each side of the disc featuring a new mix of the classic.

      love shadow 1987 7

      Arista ‎| UK | 7″ | 1987 | RIS 32

      De Harris: Love Shadow – UK – 7″ [1987]
      1. Love Shadow 3:43
      2. Love Shadow [The Whole Story] 3:23

      love shadow 1987 12

      Arista ‎| UK | 12″ | 1987 | RIST 32

      De Harris: Love Shadow – UK – 12″ [1987]
      1. Love Shadow [Dance It] 6:05
      2. Love Shadow [Club It] 7:04

      …And who sang the female vocal of the song this time?
      None other than Brenda Bennett of sassy Prince vixens VANITY 6!!!
      bad girl brenda bennett of Vanity 6
      (insert 3 stingers here)

      Like

  3. Pingback: Fashiøn “Fabrique De Luxe” Ultrabox Hits The Streets [part 3] | Post-Punk Monk

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