Estuary Embers

In 2013 a beautiful package came out from Faber, a novel by Michael Smith, loose leafed and unbound with annotations and scribblings in the margins by Andrew Weatherall, with a cd and a 10″ single. The book, available as a paperback for a few quid now in the usual places, is the semi-autobiographical tale of a man returning to London after living in a beach hut in Kent, and finding London changing, being gentrified before his eyes. Smith’s writing is shot through with loss for Soho and Shoreditch as they were and the partying of the 90s but also recognising that cities change, they move on. He sees bars selling Belgian beer and artisan food shops and both likes them and loathes them. It’s loose and conversational in tone, much of it like being up at dawn with a hangover and flashes of  memories from the night before.
Andrew Weatherall provided a soundtrack with Michael Smith reading sections of the book in his softened northern accent. Weatherall’s music is mainly tone pieces, washes of sound and noise with some folky picked guitars. Try this one.
Weatherall’s done a mix for Resident Advisor that you can download for free here, with tracks by Vermont, Prins Thomas, Flash Atkins, Simon Says, Duncan Gray, Club Bizarre, PPF, Vox Low and Boot and Tax. In the Q and A on the website, he is asked what the idea behind the mix was. Weatherall’s response is ‘to sequence some records together without the joins being too apparent’. Arf.
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The Deep Hum At The Heart Of It All

There was a lovely Andrew Weatherall package that came out some time back- a special edition of author Michael Smith’s Unreal City, with a 6 track cd soundtrack, a 10″ record and the book itself loose-leaf, with Weatherall’s hand written annotations around the text. A really nicely put together thing, from Faber. It was priced at £35, which I thought was a bit steep, but I got one for £20 from a popular internet auction site. The soundtrack is all low key, ambient noises and circular acoustic guitar patterns and Michael Smith reading parts of the book- not the sort of thing to listen to everyday but something to immerse yourself into and enjoy. You should definitely find yourself a copy, if they haven’t already sold out.The one-sided 10″ record was a remix of one of the tracks. Consider this as a taster.

The Deep Hum At the Heart Of It All (Weatherall Remix)

And many thanks to reader Jim from New Zealand who got in touch from the other side of the world regarding this matter.