Prosumer (a.k.a. Achim Brandenburg) is among that rarified class of DJs that can breathe new life into a forgotten record. Take the Mike Dunn-produced "Love Injection," the Fingers-style jam that closed out Prosumer's 2011 Panorama Bar 03 mix. Almost immediately, the record shot up in price on Discogs and was eventually reissued on vinyl this year. As such, the trainspotters are already excited about Fabric 79, and are surely anticipating the gems he's pulled out of his 12,000 strong collection. Still, the mix's appeal won't be limited to the digger crowd. The deliriously joyful and odd tunes Prosumer has chosen to include can be appreciated by novices and diehards alike, as Fabric 79 feels like a love letter to the charming amateurism at the heart of much of the best house music.
An early example is A Black Man, A Black Man and Another Black Man's "I Believe," which acts as a sort of de facto mission statement. The 1987 tune, penned by Farley Jackmaster Funk, treads a line between the deadly serious and comic, with stream-of-consciousness lyrics explaining why house is the only music that matters. "I am the creator of house," it says. "I will make you feel the rhythm to jack your body. Do you believe in house?" The call-and-response vocals sound like first or second takes, making for a track that's a lot of fun, despite (or possibly even because of) its unpolished nature. The next tune, The Traxxmen's "Emergency (Original 9-1-1 Mix)" maintains this feeling, sounding like "Percolator," only made on busted gear with a lo-bit sample of a police siren as its only melodic source. Prosumer has a real a knack for finding these historical oddities, and showcases how the original Chicago house sound was a slapdash, ebullient affair.
Fabric 79's first half is warm and soulful, featuring the aforementioned tracks alongside cuts from US greats Pal Joey, Titonton Duvante, and Chez Damier. The mix's second half, however, begins with a detour into 3 a.m. territory with some dark, introspective material. Prosumer begins this leg of the journey with Norweigan electro-pop group Kaptein Kaliber, and follows it up with the icy vocals of The Knife's Karin Dreijer Andersson before dropping into I-F's storming electro. It's a strong tonal shift, and one that's handled deftly by a DJ who's used to marathon sets—if only the constraints of the compact disc didn't limit these asides to a mere three or four tracks.
As the session hurtles on toward its conclusion, it becomes more of a Prosumer-by-numbers set, focusing on top-notch, disco-infused sample house. The selections are still excellent—for instance, Mike Dunn makes another appearance, this time with his short-lived Jass Man alias. But Fabric 79 isn't merely a collection of vintage gems. Prosumer includes some newer heat as well, and "Nature of the Soul," from Gifted & Blessed project The Steoples, is an especially notable highlight. The mix comes to a close on a utopic note, first with Axel Boman's beatific "Fantastic Piano" and then with 1982 boogie oddity "She's Got Her E.R.A." by Tommy McGee & E.R.A. The latter track comes in unmixed, an anthem of feminist agency which can be seen more broadly as a plea for equality both on and off the dancefloor. As a DJ, Prosumer's actions can only do so much, but there's no question that he's doing his part to unify a diaspora of traditions into his own love language. Do you believe in house?