Frankfurt’s Gerd Janson is one of electronic music’s most genuine and humble characters. It was on a Boy Scout trip, of all places, where he caught dance music fever upon hearing a Sven Väth mixtape, and Janson’s career in music has the air of an innocent adventure, fuelled by an ardent curiosity. In order to get closer to the music he loved, he became a “fanboy music journalist”, writing for magazines such as Groove, Spex and Ouk, and not long after buying a pair of decks and a mixer with his brother, found himself DJing at parties and local clubs. But in the early 00s, a residency at the renowned Robert Johnson club allowed him to really flourish as a DJ, and his profile has risen steadily ever since. Running Back, the label he co-founded with Thorsten Scheu, has charted Janson’s impeccable yet unpredictable taste over this period. Taking in everything from Mark E’s low-slung disco cut-ups, through to KiNK’s high-octane tech workouts, the imprint’s discography reads as a who’s-who of underground house music, paying testament to his unrivalled ear and the esteem in which he is held amongst his artistic peers.
“Recording mixes is always very painful for me – especially if I know that someone is going to spend money on it. My self-confidence as a DJ is at gutter level, and doing one for fabric, as part of a series amongst the best of the best, is quite intimidating. Plus, it's a club, so I shied away from my tried and tested mixtape method of boring people for the first 74 minutes. I ended up choosing some records that I played and enjoyed a lot over the last few months in a party context, mingled them with some exclusives and up-and-coming ones and tried to eternise the valleys and the mountains of a 12 hour long epic journey onto one silver disc.” – Gerd Janson
Gerd Janson’s superlative talent as a DJ, evident to all but perhaps himself, is perfectly encapsulated on fabric 89. In 2016, sixteen tracks are relatively few across 76 minutes, but Janson has the experience and respect to allow each one exactly the right amount of time to express itself. Opening the mix with Luke Abbott’s sparkling rework of Todd Terje’s ‘Snooze 4 Love’, Janson next opens up his address book to solicit a brand new, and typically sumptuous, track from John Talabot. Another pair of unreleased tracks step up the energy, the old-school analogue bassline of Shan’s ‘The City Never Sleeps’ riding under Boddika & Joy Orbison’s acidic ‘Severed Seven’ for what seems like an eternity. But before the mix is swallowed in darkness, the lights come back on, and via another exclusive, this time an edit of Geeeman’s ‘Wanna Go Bang’ by Catz ‘N Dogz, we’re suddenly back in the 90s - literally, with a Glenn Underground remix, and in spirit, with a highly-sought-after Inner Sense cut. But Janson won’t settle, making a deft ‘Return To Acid’ as things get tougher again, mixing seamlessly between contemporary cuts and forgotten gems. He knows how to work a drum tool, too, as the skittering bongos of Joe Claussell’s ‘Rhythm’ build an implausibly effective bridge between HMC’s pumping ‘Marauder’ and the uplifting chords of Roger van Lunteren’s ‘Hills, I Want You’. Yet there is still one more ace to play - a previously unheard Prins Thomas mix of Caribou’s classic ‘Sun’. On fabric 89, Gerd Janson explores a space between cosmic disco and acid house - never too hard, nor too soft, it makes for the perfect soundtrack to a sunrise or a sunset alike.