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Monday 28 June 2021

Monday's Long Song

Since Andrew Weatherall's death Nina Walsh has been keeping their two person project, Woodleigh Research Facility, going on her own. The WRF started with an album in 2015, a low slung, dubby, steam- powered drum machine, set of instrumentals called The Phoenix Suburb (And Other Stories)- the title a reference to the Crystal Palace area where Andrew and Nina recorded at Youth's studio, named Facility 4. In 2018 a second album appeared in limited vinyl quantities with individualised sleeve artwork and sold through a car boot sale, 127 To Facility 4 (a second pressing saw some copies sold via the WRF website which is where I was fortunate and quick fingered enough to get one). Several one off digital and/ or physical releases have also been put out-  a 2017 track called S.O.M.A.25, a hard edged, techno tribute to Soma Records released for their twenty- fifth anniversary compilation and two years later Heilige Seidhr came out on Hoga Nord to celebrate the 2019 Convenanza. Then at the start of 2020 the WRF announced a series of monthly, digital only releases, three new tracks a month for a year, a huge burst of creativity and industry. When Andrew died in February 2020 it put those releases into a very different light, eleven epitaphs sent forth at the end of each month. The onset of Covid and the first lockdown a month later added to the sense of loss around those releases. The torrent of ideas and music in those thirty six tracks, songs and poems set to music is still revealing itself, a wealth of back catalogue treasure to explore. 

Nina has packed up and moved out of London (and is building Facility 5 out west). She is keeping the spirit and sound of Woodleigh Research Facility alive with a trickle of releases. Last month a new Nina written and produced WRF EP came out, Vernal Invocation, three new pieces of music led by Lex Talionis, seven minutes of that familiar drum machine sound, some dancing keyboard melodies and some moody synths.

Backed up by two further instrumentals, Alcyone and Salacia, the EP is proof that Andrew's musical partnership with Nina continues to bear fruit after his passing, something about him audibly evident in the grooves and sounds. 

In Greek mythology Alcyone was the daughter King Aeolus. She married Ceyx but foolishly the pair displeased Zeus and Hera and Zeus threw a thunderbolt at their ship. The gods took pity on the pair and changed them into kingfisher birds (or halcyons). 

Salacia was the Roman goddess of the sea, worshipped as the goddess of salt water and guardian of the depths, the personification of calm and sunlit ocean waves. She married Neptune and they had three children, the most famous being Triton, half man, half fish. That's got to be inconvenient in daily life in the 21st century but he maybe he made it work two thousand years ago. Salacia sounds aquatic and oceangoing. 


Echorich said...

Truly beautiful music!

Khayem said...

Hard to pick a favourite of the three. Andrew Weatherall's influence is almost tangible, but Nina continues to create some beautiful aural narratives. Wonderful.