Janis Joplin’s Mum

Above, left to right- Seth, Janis and Dorothy Joplin.

An obscure oddity for Wednesday from the combined talents of Alex Paterson and Nina Walsh, united as Rootmasters. It came out as part of an Orb compilation called The Orb Presents Tundra And Snowflakes (for a Russian label and bar, Ketama),  a double album containing all sorts of oddities, rarities, cast offs and wastrels. The track came out originally on a Rootmasters e.p. from 2007 called Push Once.

What’s it like? It’s a beguiling piece of spooky, downtempo music, full of echo, crackle and hiss, built around a descending chord pattern. A sampled voice instructing us to open our eyes. Doors creak open and shut, accompanied by eastern instruments. Occasionally Nina’s voice surfaces singing ‘only the good die young’. Then it fades out again. More crackle.

Janis Joplin’s Mum


Moine Dubh Journey

Another long one today, a tad over an hour’s worth of folky freakery for you. Back in September Andrew Weatherall guested on 6 Music’s Freak Zone and played a load of unreleased songs from his Moine Dubh label. The first bunch of songs were released as part of a 7″ vinyl subscription a year ago, five singles for fifty quid. The follow up, which is what I’m assuming this will become, is in this big mp3 file.

A Journey Into Moine Dubh (6 Music Freak Zone)

There’s a mixture of Moine Dubh artists here, old and new. Frank Alba and Barry Woolnough both appeared in the first singles club or at the live night at Crystal Palace, Woolnough with the spooky song of loss Great Spirit Father In The Sky. Fireflies, Echowood and Lowroad did too. Nina Walsh, who is in this mix a few times including twice solo with some sparkling acoustic guitar songs, is half of the Woodleigh Research Facility and a long time musical partner. Rootmasters, Jessica Cahill, Eva Eden and Kave are all new ones to me. Over the course of an hour there’s some strange modern British folk, some weird psych and some killer tunes.

Second Machine From The Sun

I had scores of these science fiction novels as a kid in the late 70s and 80s. The Bruce Pennington art on the covers seemed overblown and semi-ridiculous then, as a kid, and more so now but they have a kitsch value I quite like again now. Retro-futurism.

Andrew Weatherall and Nina Walsh are currently encouraging us to listen to Erick Legrand. Legrand has been a big influence on the sound of the Woodleigh Research Facility. Erick died in 2011 and I don’t know too much about him but his album Second Machine From The Sun (which really needs a Bruce Pennington cover like those above) is on Bandcamp and may be about to get a vinyl release. The cd/download can be yours for £7.00. It’s in an electronic, soundtrack, film music area and worth giving some ear time too.


Back at the start of the year Andrew Weatherall- him again- released two albums, one under his own name (Convenanza) and one with Nina Walsh as the Woodleigh Research Facility. The WRF album, The Phoenix Suburb And Other Stories, is eight tracks of dubby instrumentals and is continuing to reeal is pleasures nearly a year on. About a year ago the good people at Rotters Golf Club sent out an mp3 to everyone who’d subscribed to the Mojne Dubh singles club by way of apology for a delay in pressing the first 7″. This was it.

Gardens Dub


Slab were Nina Walsh (Sabrettes label boss and currently one half of the Woodleigh Research Facility alongside Andrew Weatherall) and The Drum Club’s Lol Hammond. In the mid 90s they made a handful of techno records, often quite banging, in-your-face style techno. Their track Atomsmasher was remixed by Weatherall into a stripped back number with bleeps and bloops. It is equally laid back and intense, if that’s possible.


We Count The Stars

Just a month since the Woodleigh Research Facility album and now Andrew Weatherall and Nina Walsh follow it with a second record. Convenanza is out under Weatherall’s name but the personnel is pretty much the same as WRF. A couple of the tracks are sonically in that same groove, the dub bass and drum machine backing joined by some early ACR like guitar, some wandering trumpet and on Thirteenth Night a track that picks up almost exactly where Screamadelica’s Shine Like Stars left off. Weatherall’s vocals give this a more song based feel even if the musical backing doesn’t follow any strict verse-chorus structure, with phrases and lines plucked from his notebook. The Confidence Man sounds almost like a late period Clash remix, where a song turns into an extended groove. There’s a lot to enjoy in both albums, music from the margins (or South London) you can get lost in.

There’s an interesting interview with Andrew and Nina here if you’re after more background to the both records. There’s also a laid back but righteous hour long mix from Lord Sabrehere, made up of records unearthed when he was forced to relocate from his studio last year. Final thought- can we now expect a new Weatherall album on a monthly basis?


I’m enjoying the new Andrew Weatherall project. No surprise there you might say. The Woodleigh Research Facility’s The Phoenix Suburb (And Other Stories) is eight songs spread over four sides of vinyl (download to follow in February from Rotters Golf Club). Weatherall and Nina Walsh’s sound is rhythm and bass led, guitars added by Franck Alba and on the final track by Youth. Entirely instrumental every song is long, up to nine or ten minutes, allowed to unwind fully, taking its time and in no rush to get anywhere. Not that they drift aimlessly either- there’s some of the Sabres Of Paradise dubbiness plus some of Two Lone Swordsmen’s abstractness. Going further and deeper.

There’s probably a few vinyl copies left if you hurry. As Drew and I discussed over Twitter the other night the only disappointment is the lack of a proper sleeve- two discs and a single card insert inside a plastic bag.