New Levels

Last Thursday the incredible twenty one hours of mixes put together by Andrew Weatherall’s former colleagues and friends, pulled together by Andrew Curley for the Glade Area at the virtual Glastonbury, went live at Mixcloud. There’s is so much to enjoy in them- Timothy J Fairplay’s mix, a heady, sticky ninety minutes of electronic dance music, Richard Sen’s barnstorming ride through dance music littered with samples Andrew used and songs he played and Justin Robertson’s masterclass in bumpity bumpity house music have been getting plays round here this week.
In the early 1990s Andrew worked with David Harrow in various guises- as the Planet 4 Folk Quartet, as Deanne Day and as Blood Sugar. The pair released a superb double pack of 12″ singles as Blood Sugar, Levels, scratchy deep house meets dub techno. The Blood Sugar night is represented in the Glade mixes with ninety minutes of outstanding digital dub techno, Basic Channel sounds, from the hands of Rick Hopkins (here). The Blood Sugar mixes were the type of thing that got passed around on cassette, nth generation copies with tape hiss as an indelible part of the experience. David Harrow, now resident in LA, has put together his own mix, half an hour of tracks he and Andrew made together. See it as an encore, digital dub techno, intense, minimal, glide by grooves, including the sweet deep house majesty of Deanne Day’s Hardly Breathe.
David is still very productive and his Bandcamp page regularly sees new and old music posted. You can find music he made with the late Bim Sherman there and this release, Machine Dubs. Headspinning, experimental, ambient techno with dubby basslines.

Isolation Mix 9- Weatherdub

It’s difficult to know where we are with isolation any more. Many people seem to be acting like it’s all over, parks are full of groups of people and social distancing is a thing of last month. The daily death toll doesn’t seem to be diminishing that much and in the north west we currently have the highest regional infection and death rate in the country. As the government brings about the end of lockdown in favour of the economy and to distract from the horrors of their mismanagement of the entire period, some people I’m sure will stay in and stay distanced. In our household we are shielding so our lives will carry on as before for the moment. God only knows where we go from here.

Isolation Mix 9 came partly from a comment I made at The Flightpath Estate, an Andrew Weatherall Facebook group where I promised a Weatherdub mix, and partly from Isolation Mix 6 three weeks ago, an hour of dub that had several of Lord Sabre’s fingerprints on it. There’s some crossover between that mix and this one but I chose the other Steve Mason remix and dropped the Sabres Of Paradise dub of Regret by New Order just for variety’s sake. This mix, an hour and a quarter of dub business from Andrew Weatherall as a solo artist, aided and abetted by Nina Walsh, as a remixer, as a Sabre Of Paradise and as an Asphodell, spans thirty years taking in songs from 1990 and 2020. There’s loads more that could have gone in but I thought I’d keep it compact.

Sabres Of Paradise: Ysaebud (From The Vaults)

Sabres Of Paradise: Return of Carter

Steve Mason: Boys Outside (Andrew Weatherall Dub 1)

Andrew Weatherall: Unknown Plunderer

Saint Etienne: Only Love Can Break Your Heart (Andrew Weatherall Mix)

Sabres Of Paradise: Edge 6

Andrew Weatherall: End Times Sound

Meatraffle: Meatraffle On The Moon (Andrew Weatherall Dub)

Richard Sen: Songs Of Pressure (The Asphodells Remix)

Andrew Weatherall: Kiyadub 45

Lark: Can I Colour In Your Hair? (Andrew Weatherall Version)

Planet 4 Folk Quartet: Message To Crommie

Weatherdrive And Weatherdub

Last week there was a minor internet kerfuffle surrounding a Facebook page that I’m one of the admins of- The Flightpath Estate. It was set up several years ago as a place to share appreciation of the work of Andrew Weatherall and news about releases, DJ nights and so on. It trundled along quietly with a few hundred members. One of my co- admins Martin set up a resource called the Weatherdrive, an online dump for recordings of DJ sets, radio shows and mixes, over 700 hours worth of listening in total. In the aftermath of Andrew’ untimely death MixMag, the dance music magazine, picked up on the Weatherdrive and published a short article about it (which included a link to this blog). The article broke the Weatherdrive as it was deluged with people wanting to download mixes and the Flightpath Estate has since more than doubled its membership. MixMag then got back in touch to see if we wanted to write an article pointing readers in the direction of the ten best Andrew Weatherall mixes on the Weatherdrive. With some hugely appreciated support from Martin and Mark I wrote that article (stretching the definition of ten to twelve and reviving McGuire, the fictional figure from Weatherall’s sleevenotes to Haunted Dancehall, something I hope he wouldn’t mind). The article was published on MixMag’s website yesterday. You can read it here. It takes in twelve mixes/ sets recorded between 1991 and 2019 and on their own contain a huge wealth and variety of music. Hours of fun plus some words written by me.

To celebrate here are two dub obscurities from Andrew Weatherall’s back catalogue, both from the mid 1990s and neither currently available digitally as far as I can see. The first is a Sabres Of Paradise dub track. Ysaebud is a monstrous piece of dubbed out splendour, a unholy shotgun marriage of side six of Sandinista! and King Tubby. It came out as a one sided 7″ single with an etched B-side and was released in 1997, a couple of years after Sabres split, and was credited to S.O.P (From The Vault). According to Curley, who worked in the Sabres office, the track was rescued from a safe in the old Sabres office on Dean Street and the single was mastered directly from cassette.

Ysaebud

Two years earlier the War Child Help! compilation was released, a record largely populated by Britpop aristocrats plus Johnny Depp and Kate Moss and some people from the dance music world (Portishead, Massive Attack, Orbital, Stereo MCs, The KLF under a pseudonym). Help! was intended to provide aid for the young inhabitants of war torn Bosnia and Herzegovina and ended up raising over £1.5 million. The idea was that everyone would record their contributions in a day, mix them the following day and then the album would come out a week later. Tucked away fairly anonymously towards the end was a track by the Planet 4 Folk Quartet, their one and only recording. Planet 4 Folk Quartet were Andrew Weatherall and David Harrow. Message To Crommie is a gorgeous piece of piano- led dub, ticking percussion and a softly padding bassline, pausing for a beautiful melodica breakdown, before the bass takes over again.

Message To Crommie

Lord Sabre

I could probably go on posting Andrew Weatherall related music all week and into next but I’ll make this the last one for the time being, a third celebration of his life and music following his passing earlier this week. The further I go into the remixes he did in the early 90s the more of them I recall that I didn’t write about yesterday- West India Company, Word Of Mouth, Deep Joy, That Petrol Emotion all spring to mind. The mid 90s Two Lone Swordsmen period is so full of music and remixes that it would take years to go through it all and then there are the ones done under other names from that time- Rude Solo, Lino Squares, Basic Units, the wondrous deep house recorded with David Harrow as Deanne Day, his partnership with Harrow as Blood Sugar, the beautifully chilled piano dub of the Planet 4 Folk Quartet track (also with David Harrow). There’s also all the minimal techno, dub and electronic weirdness released on the various Emissions labels in the 90s from people such as Blue, Conemelt, Turbulent Force, Alex Handley, Technova (David Harrow again) and Bionic.

Released on Emissions Audio Output in 1996 Hardly Breathe is fifteen minutes of sumptuous deep house, bass to shake your speakers and a breathy vocal from ‘Deanne’.

Hardly Breathe

In the same year Weatherall went back to the BBC and recorded his second Essential Mix. The first was a groundbreaking charge through Weatherall’s record box three years earlier, opening with Killing Joke and Sabres and taking in Brother Love Dubs, Smokebelch, Plastikman, LFO, Black Dog and Innersphere along the way, two hours of techno that was taped and shared and re-taped. In 1996 his second Essential Mix was possibly even better, a journey into the heart of the Two Lone Swordsmen sound- minimal, bass led, crisp machine drums, on the button, Andrew re-working the material including four of his own records as he plays it. Two hours of the art of the DJ.

Jumping forward to 2009 and a mix he did for Fact Magazine which I listened to endlessly at that time and plundered for posts at Bagging Area in its early days. Fact Mix 85 skips from genre to genre in an effortless manner, playing post- punk, rockabilly, Stockholm Monsters, Durutti Column, Mogwai and Pete Wylie. The tracklist is here. Earlier on in 2009 he did a 6 Music show where he’d played Wayne Walker’s All I Can Do Is Cry (also on Fact Mix 85), a song that I heard for the first time there and that then became the subject of the first ever piece of blogging I did (a guest slot at The Vinyl Villain).

Fact Mix 85

This one is more recent, the man playing at Terraforma near Milan in Italy, a Music’s Not For Everyone style set and is the best fifty two minutes of audio/visual fun you’ll have today. Songs from Fujiya Miyagi, The Dream Syndicate, Moon Duo, AMOR, played a field full of dancing Italians half his age.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/248061647

In 2003 Primal Scream released a greatest hits called Dirty Hits, a version of their history that opened with Loaded, Weatherall’s mangling of the Scream’s I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have, with steals from Peter Fonda, Edie Brickell and The Emotions. Loaded, in a piece of timing that is remarkable, came out thirty years ago yesterday. Anyway, the sleeve notes to Dirty Hits were written by Andrew Weatherall and conclude thus…

‘Feeling humble, having served… now carry me home.’

Now you’ll have to excuse me because I’ve got something in my eye again.

Last Goodbye

David Harrow is a one man creativity machine, producing a torrent of music from his L.A. home. In his Oicho guise he put this album out back in December, a nine track trip through dub techno, electonica, digital rhythms, bleeps, glitches and an air of menace. Opener Becoming A Raven sounds like a slow drive through the suburbs at night, all night garages and sodium street lights. There’s something about Last Goodbye seems more urban Britain than sunny Los Angeles. But then I’ve never been to L.A.

Next Worlds

Something weird and a little bit wonderful from Los Angeles for Wednesday (courtesy of David Harrow, formerly of West London in the 90s). Oicho have given us an ep of dubby delights peppered with eastern instruments and melodies, four tracks well worth two of your quid/dollars. This sort of chuggy, cross pollination thing is really on a roll currently, a bit of a balm for the Brexit blues.

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=2560713784/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/

Beautiful Dreamer

‘Beautiful Dreamer versus Darkseid! Both hold the key to victory in the strangest war ever fought in comicdom history!’

More early 70s Jack Kirby-Third Eye- Black Light psychedelic madness. The more of this Marvel art I look for, the more I find, the more I want to post. I was planning to finish yesterday but there’s more to come.

Two days ago reader KevM asked for The Box by Jack Of Swords, released on Weatherall’s Sabres Of Paradise label back in 1994. The Box is a cover of The Velvet Underground tune (from White Light/White Heat), a tale of sexual obsession and accidental death, voiced by John Cale (and it’s the original Cale vocal used on this cover too, a benefit of the being able to lift the whole isolated vocal off the Velvet’s record by switching the speakers balance to the left hand channel). The Jack Of Swords version has a heavy, electronic backing that is pretty transfixing. On the B-side of the 12″ single was a remixed version by Technova (David Harrow), a brilliant remix which adds a jackhammer beat, some speaker rattling bass and a load of acid-techno (the sort of record that makes me think I can smell dry ice and see strobes flashing in the corner of my eye).

The Box

The Box (The Black Angel’s Death Mix)

Let There Be Drums

Another remix from the homemade cd I found, this one of Deep Joy by Andrew Weatherall in 1990. A chunky beat, nice piano riff, some choppy guitar and a sax that dominates. I don’t know exactly who Deep Joy were (the track is credited to Chad Page and Deep Joy and produced by David Harrow). Well Balearic.

Fall (Let There Be Drums) Weatherall Remix

Deanne’s Day

A shift of gear after all the ’77 and Iggy Pop stuff. In 1996 Andrew Weatherall’s Emissions label put out a 12″ by Deanne Day, two tracks both over ten minutes long, from where techno met deep house, (which was where Weatherall’s head was at back then), precise and intense music. Both sides are great, smelling of dry ice and dark corners where the bass reverberates.  It might sound like these tracks are for the completists only but you should give these a go.

The Long First Friday

Hardly Breathe

Hardly Breathe samples Mancunian legend Edward Barton and some looped vocal parts from singer Smita Pandya, taken from the song Thousand Lives. Deanne Day was actually a pseudonym for Weatherall and fellow producer David Harrow (Deanne Day, D and A). Deanne had put out a 12″ the year before called The Day After and there was a very limited remix 12″ too but to my mind this was the one- in some ways this sound is what I think of when I think of ’96-’97.

>What Is It Holmes?

>
David Holmes’s 1997 album Let’s Get Killed was a mixed bag, as all his albums have been. The single, Don’t Die Just Yet, was superb- trippy and moody with dramatic strings, and a Serge Gainsbourg sample. This is from the cd/12″ single, Don’t Chant Just Yet, where Holmes remixes his own track assisted by Tim Goldsworthy.