Monday’s Long Song

Over on social media this weekend a friend posted a Beth Orton song from 1996. Touch Me With Your Love was on Beth’s debut album Trailer Park and was also released as a single in January 1997. The production and mixing was by Andrew Weatherall and Keith Tenniswood, then Two Lone Swordsmen.

This sent me back to Trailer Park where Weatherall and Tenniswood contributed to three other songs including the otherworldly and breathtaking ten minute album closer Galaxy Of Emptiness, a song that unfolds gently, is in no great hurry to get anywhere quickly and all the better for it. Beth sings ‘Won’t you please knock me off my feet for a while?’ and this song does just that.

Galaxy Of Emptiness

I’m Still Dreaming

One of Primal Scream’s finest post-Screamadelica moments is this one, Autobahn 66 (from 2002’s Evil Heat album). Ignore the title, the song’s a beauty, a shimmering krautrock groove, ticking and hissing drums and a cooler than fuck bassline, spacey synths and melodies beamed in from out there. Over this Bobby whispers his stream of consciousness- dreaming, always dreaming, dreaming my life til the day that I die, colours so beautiful, softer than silk. It’s no surprise that the desk was being manned by Weatherall (with then fellow Swordsman Keith Tenniswood).  My virtual friend Chris Mackin laid down the bass part and then in his own words ‘went out til 5 am celebrating’.

Autobahn 66 (album version)

According to Discogs there was a promo release of Autobahn 66 that had a 7 minute 26 second instrumental version. If anyone’s got it, I’m right here. The single version I bought contained the Radio Edit and an Alter Ego remix of Autobahn plus Substance D. This is a top notch single release, well worth whatever I paid for it 16 years ago. Alter Ego are a duo from Dramstadt in Germany and their remix is less cosmic, more mechanical, and yes, more Teutonic.

Autobahn 66 (Alter Ego Remix)

Substance D is Weatherall’s remixed version of the album track A Scanner Darkly (also from Evil Heat and produced by himself and Tenniswood). Substance D is deliciously dirty mutant funk built around the same drum machine that powers Autobahn 66.

Substance D

Swimming Not Skimming

I pulled out Two Lone Swordsmen’s 1996 double album Swimming Not Skimming at the weekend, a record I haven’t played for a long time. SNS was a mixture of new tracks from Weatherall and Tenniswood and some remixes. The vinyl always confused me- the tracklist and disc labelling was unclear and I wasn’t sure what the different tracks were called until I became acquainted with the cd version and then later the internet could confirm which track was which. Additionally the cd had 10 tracks to the vinyl version’s 7. Both formats have the same couple of remixes of stand-up bass tour de force Rico’s Helly, almost worth the price of admission on their own. I was half tempted to post the whole thing but it is still available to buy digitally so decided against it. Here’s a couple of tasters, one from the vinyl/cd and one from the cd alone.

This is the one that grabbed me most at the weekend. Blu Jack And Florence is extremely high quality machine funk, riding in on a mechanical rhythm. The bass hits at fifteen seconds and then the keyboards play around over the top. Wait for the synth strings come in at around 3.30. Hair-raising. The drums doubles up and it powers forward unrelenting.

Blu Jack And Florence

In The Nursery Visit Glenn Street was only on the cd (along with the lovely ambient opener Azzolini Ad the Branch Brothers Meet Being), a remix by In The Nursery (who had previously done a lovely, slightly spooky remix of Haunted Dancehall). Klive and Nigel Humberstone pull out the bassline and some ambient bubbling and add sweeping strings, a cinematic and celestial track to counter Blu Jack And Florence’s more earthbound, booty shaking appeal.

In The Nursery Visit Glenn Street

Paisley

I don’t know if this is an idea that could run or not but…

This song off Prince’s 1985 album Around The World In A Day came up recently and knocked me sideways a little- genuine lightfooted brilliance, a mid-80s funked version of 60s pop-psychedelia about the joys of childhood.

Paisley Park

‘Admission is easy, just say you
Believe and come to this
Place in your heart
Paisley Park is in your heart’

In 1996 the first full length Two Lone Swordsmen album, The Fifth Mission (Return To the Flightpath Estate), contained this track as its closing statement, a loopy, stoned trip through the aforementioned flightpath estate at dawn. The synth chord sequence just after two minutes, and then recurring throughout the eight minutes plus, is rather wonderful.

Paisley Dark

Swordsmen On The Road

Back in the middle of the last decade Two Lone Swordsmen mutated into a live garage rock ‘n’ roll band with Andrew Weatherall on vocals, Keith Tenniswood on guitar and a bunch of friends helping out including Chris Mackin (Chris Rotter) on guitar and Nick Burton on drums. I saw them play at Sankey’s but have no photographs. Who took pictures at gigs in 2007? Not me. These two live songs from when they played Brighton have come my way recently and thought some of you might be interested. First up is their speedy cover of the Gun Club’s Sex Beat, which in studio version was on The Double Gone Chapel album.

Sex Beat (Live in Brighton)

Feast was on the Big Silver Shining Motor Of Sin ep, a four track vinyl release in 2004, a scuzzy, amped up tale of handing over cash to the doctor, over a building wall of sheet metal guitar noise. ‘Ein, zwei, drei, vier…’

Feast (Live in Brighton)

Lino Squares

Shall we do something really obscure from the back catalogue of Andrew Weatherall? In 1997 Weatherall and Keith Tenniswood moonlighted from their day job as Two Lone Swordsmen to put out a double vinyl, six track e.p. as Lino Squares. The record came out on Humboldt County Records and had various spelling/punning titles- the e.p.’s title was The Role Of Linoleum and included tracks called Neuphrique, Phrique Out and Blue Pole Dancer. Musically we get deep house, minimal electro and minimal deep house electro. This one, Tidy Unit, has a smart breakbeat, crashing percussion and some whooshey noises. Rather fine I think.

Tidy Unit

Blue Pole Dancer has pots and pans style drums, a nice one fingered keyboard part and a disembodied female vocal. A bit moody.

Blue Pole Dancer

Dub Tuesday

Tuesday calls for dub, dunno why, it just does. This is a recording of Radioactive Man’s dub dj set supporting Pitch Black in London in July. Over the course of an hour and a half it goes deep into dub and echo, rimshot and strange smelling smoke, including Sly and Robbie, Grace Jones, Lee Perry, Ini Kamoze, Adrian Sherwood, Colourbox, Aswad, Toots and The Maytals, Johnny Osbourne, Peaking Lights and Dub Syndicate. Highly recommended.