Monday’s Long Song

Another Monday, another Weatherall remix. This one came out in 1995, a Sabres of Paradise remix of Fun>Da>Mental. At seven and a half minutes long it’s in no rush to get anywhere very quickly and has some very dusty and lazy sounds floating on top of the stoned groove. In fact, the title Mother In India (Sabres At Dusk Mix) is a pretty accurate description of what it sounds like.

Mother India (Sabres At Dusk Mix)

It was coupled with the eight minute Sabres At Dawn Mix, a similar but less sleepy version.

Mother India (Sabres At Dawn)

The sleeve listed inspirational mothers, sisters and daughters throughout history that Fun>Da>Mental wanted to pay tribute to, from Indira Gandhi and Benazir Bhutto to Boudica, Marie Curie, Betty Shabazz, Joan of Arc, Miriam Makeba, Mahalia Jackson, Emily and Sylvia Pankhurst, Angela Davies, Harriet Tubman, Coretta Scott King and Alice Walker.

This remix was one of the last Sabres of Paradise ones and I’m sure I read somewhere recently that it was the first tie that Andrew and Keith Tenniswood really worked together one to one so in some ways the Two Lone Swordsmen were born here. In 1995 the Sabres studio was above a dry cleaners in Hounslow, on the Flightpath Estate and I can hear some of the sound of the first Two Lone Swordsmen album, 1996’s The 5th Mission (Return To The Flightpath Estate), in these two remixes.

To come bang up to date the fifth monthly Woodleigh Research Facility three track ep came out on Friday, a set of songs called Karra Mesh. Sonically and thematically the title track fits in very well with the two Fun>Da>Mental remixes above, the sounds he was exploring two and a half decades ago still circling.

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Isolation Mix Three

It’s over halfway through April already. The weeks seem to be flying by even though some of the days seem very long. This is Isolation Mix Three. I thought I’d do something different from the ambient, blissed out, opiated sounds of the first two mixes and this mix is something that I first wrote about doing in a post here about three years ago. This is an hour and three minutes of spoken word and poetry and music. Andrew Weatherall features in various guises and with various poets, the Beat Generation and The Clash are represented, there’s some reggae and the unmistakable voice of John Cooper Clarke.

Jack Kerouac/Joe Strummer: MacDougal Street Blues

John Cooper Clarke: Twat

Misty In Roots: Introduction to Live At The Counter Eurovision

Linton Kwesi Johnson: Inglan Is A Bitch

The Clash (and Allen Ginsberg): Ghetto Defendant (Extended Version)

Allen Ginsberg/ Tom Waits: Closing Time/America

Andrew Weatherall and Michael Smith: The Deep Hum (At The Heart Of It All)

Joe Gideon and The Shark: Civilisation

Woodleigh Research Facility and Joe Duggan: Downhill

Fireflies and Joe Duggan: Leonard Cohen Knows

BP Fallon and David Holmes: Henry McCullough (Andrew Weatherall Remix)

Mike Garry and Joe Duddell: St Anthony: An Ode To Anthony H Wilson (Andrew Weatherall Remix)

Allen Ginsberg: I Am A Victim Of Telephone

Somnium

The monthly Woodleigh Research Facility e.p. releases keep coming even though Andrew has gone. Apparently the ones for April, May and June are already lined up. March’s three tracks appeared at the usual download sites on Friday along with a message-

‘We continue together in the here and now…’

The third of the three tracks is Somnium, a lilting, slightly melancholic thing with plucked notes, strings and a drum machine.

 

From Fort Beulah To Facility 4

Fort Beulah N.U. project was a secretive Andrew Weatherall project that started in 2017, a series of five one sided 12″ singles, with hand stamped centres and numbered and signed sleeves. Yes, I bought all five. Cottage industry dub, detours into ambient and semi- techno areas, weird meditative, tunes with strange vocal samples. I’m not sure exactly who the players and contributors are but the wonderful Nina Walsh was involved and various other people in the Woodleigh Research Facility orbit. I’m not usually one for copying and pasting press releases but in the absence of much else to go off will do so this time. This was issued prior to the release of 001 by Mr Weatherall:

”Fort Beulah N.U. is a collective of singers, players, sonic research operatives and Gnostic adventurers affiliated to the Woodleigh Research Facility. Fort Beulah N.U. would like to thank Heidi Barker for her vocals on F.B. 001…… Peace and unity is easier to achieve than those that profit from the lack of it would have you believe….”
Andrew Weatherall. June 2017.

The five Fort Beulah tracks are sequenced in order below by a kindly Mixcloud uploader and are a fine way to spend forty minutes.

Back in September 2017 this short video came out to promote 002 which seems to have been called Alain.

Another piece of the jigsaw (maybe)… Fort Beulah is a place in Vermont, the town at the centre of Sinclair Lewis’ 1936 novel It Can’t Happen Here, a satirical account of a demagogic politician taking the Presidency by storm in the 1930s with promises of American values, patriotism and a return to traditional values (written against a  backdrop of actual fascist dictators being in power in Europe). Whether this shadowy musical collective is named after the Fort Beulah of Sinclair Lewis’ novel and is therefore a sideways comment on Trump I don’t know. But it seems plausible.

Today is the day of Andrew’s funeral. In the words he’d use to sign off some of his messages and missives Jah bless to all, his family and friends and all those attending. Rest in peace Lord Sabre.

 

Uptown Approach

Some more Andrew Weatherall for your delectation. First is a reader request…

Uptown (Long After The Disco Is Over)

In 2008 Primal Scream released an album called Beautiful Future, an album I bought but have hardly played. I seem to remember Bobby Gillespie saying this was an album which had ‘sugar coated melodies’ or something similar. It came after Riot City Blues which was where I drifted away from the Scream- Country Girl was a pastiche of  pastiche and the rest of the album bar a couple of songs didn’t sink in. Having said that Beautiful Future’s follow up, More Light, five years later was the best Scream album since Evil Heat for me. Looking at the tracklisting for Beautiful Future now I can’t recall much about any of it, there are several collaborations (Josh Homme, Linda Thompson, Lovefoxx), but the bonus/ freebie cover of Urban Guerrilla and the instrumental Time Of The Assassin were both ok. Where Beautiful Future achieves its status is as the source material for one of Andrew Weatherall’s greatest remixes and in 2008 a sign that after a few quieter years he was back in the game. Uptown on the album is a Bobby Gillespie Saturday Night Fever tribute song. In Weatherall’s hands it becomes 21st century gold, a alchemist’s calling card. Opening with dub FX, echoes bouncing around and then Bobby cooing ‘you feel so good you never wanted to leave’, Uptown becomes a disco odyssey, clipped guitar, a sweet melodica line, four on the floor drums and a bassline from the centre of the club. Weatherall builds it over the ensuing nine minutes, layering sound, the riffs and melodies circling, noises ricocheting left and right, Bobby occasionally whispering ‘uptown’ and those melancholic, sweeping strings. At the heart of this disco is the eternal sadness of the hedonist, the realisation that the lights have to come on, the night will be over, the morning will come- the knowledge that chasing the magical moments on the floor cannot last forever but that while they last, they are bliss. Short lived bliss. It’s all in there.

Before his tragic passing just over a week ago Andrew and Nina Walsh had already lined up the second of the monthly Woodleigh Research Facility digital only e.p.s following January’s Into the Cosmic Hole. The second one is called Facility 4: Approach and brings us three more tunes from the end times soundsystem- Fume Homage, The Approach and Servant. The e.p. comes out tomorrow at all the usual digital places. The ghostly noises, the cavernous echo, the steam powered drum machine rhythms, the deep sea bass, the long synth sounds and little arpeggios, the sense of slight dislocation, all lingering on in his absence.

Facility 4

Maybe we should have just gone and had a Weatherall theme week. This is the new digital only monthly service from the Woodleigh Research Facility, out to buy on Friday- the first fruits are an e.p. called Into the Cosmic Hole. Three tracks for your pleasure, Birthday Three, Phonox Special No. 1 (Outer Space) and the title track Into The Cosmic Hole. Birthday Three is a wheezy drum machine and keyboard homage to Stockholm Monsters, Burnage’s finest. Phonox Special a haunted dancefloor number, with distorted voice, bleeps and a snare, sirens from Fad Gadget, a glide through the dark night. Into The Cosmic Hole is an expanse of pagan chanting, Nina Walsh’s voice and echo and delay on everything else.

Facility 4

This appeared out of the blue this week, fifteen minutes of lo-fi, wobbly, out there, ambient- acid, a sonic treat from Weatherall and Walsh aka the Woodleigh Research Facility. The visuals, including Silbury Hill, add a prehistoric vibe to the already fairly shamanic sounds.