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Sunday 30 April 2023

Forty Five Minutes Of Sabres Of Paradise

The day after the night before. I wrote this in advance so have no idea how yesterday's DJ extravaganza at The Golden Lion went- let's assume for the sake of argument that it was a massive success, that the tune selection and mixing was flawless, that we pitched the music and the crowd perfectly throughout the afternoon and evening and set it up beautifully for Justin Robertson to come in and take us all higher. 

I thought seeing as today is till part of the AW60 celebrations and there's plenty to see and enjoy at The Golden Lion today that today's mix should be Weatherall related but also a little downtempo and chilled to ease any sore heads and bodies into the day. This is the result, a forty five minutes Sabres Of Paradise mix, some of the more ambient, downtempo, dubbier and beatific tracks from the Andrew Weatherall, Jagz Kooner and Gary Burns back catalogue.

Forty Five Minutes Of Sabres Of Paradise

  • Jacob Street 7AM
  • Siege Refrain
  • Return Of Carter
  • R.S.D.
  • Theme 4
  • Edge 6
  • Flight Path Estate
  • Haunted Dancehall (Performed By In The Nursery)
  • Smokebelch II (Beatless Mix)
  • Chapel Street 9AM

The bookends of this mix, Jacob Street and Chapel Street, are both from the 1994 Haunted Dancehall album, a Sabres masterclass. Ambient tracks to listen to as the city wakes, Jacob Street is serene and wobbly, while Chapel Street's synths sound like seagulls and the shimmering haze they conjure is quite beautiful. Theme 4, a short dub noise interlude on the album is a version of the single Theme, also from 1994. Flight Path Estate comes from Haunted Dancehall too. 

Siege Refrain is a short experiment is delay and distortion, calmed ambient sound with some a little edge. It was track three on the Wilmot CD single.

Return Of Carter and Edge 6 were the twin B-sides from Theme, two of my favourite Sabres dub outings, wonderfully early 90s revisioning of the King Tubby sound. 

R.S.D. appeared on the 1993 album Sabresonic, propulsive dub techno. The initials stand for Red Stripe Dubs, an advertising tie in brokered by Mark who DJed last night as one of the Flightpath Estate DJs. He swears somewhere he has a cassette with three different versions of this track but alas to date he has been unable to put his hands on it. 

In The Nursery's modern classical cover version of Haunted Dancehall's title track came as part of a triple vinyl remix set, on 7", 10" and 12" along with remixes by Depth Charge, The Chemical Brothers, Nightmares On Wax and LFO. It's a very beautiful few minutes, a new version rather than a remix. Weirdly the BBC's plans for the death of a monarch that were drawn up decades ago stipulated that it would be the only music to be played on Radio One in the event of the Queen dying. It was broadcast repeatedly in the immediate aftermath of the death of Diana back in 1997. I'm not sure it's what anyone involved in creating it intended. 

Smokebelch II (Beatless Mix) is a gorgeous ambient version of the Sabres 12" single from 1993, Smokebelch II. It's become an ambient/ chill out classic and been subjected to advertising mobile phones in the past but that shouldn't blind you to its beauty. It was originally available as a one sided 7" single with limited copies of Haunted Dancehall. We played it at the graveside at Isaac's funeral in December 2021 and I can still listen to it now, so that's something. 

Saturday 29 April 2023

AW60 The Golden Lion

Today is the final leg of the AW60 events, the month of celebrations of what would have been Andrew Weatherall’s 60th birthday. Following nights in London, Glasgow and Belfast the fourth event is at The Golden Lion in Todmorden. The Golden Lion is a special place, ‘a portal’, as a man standing at the bar told me last time I was there, ‘outside it’s Tod, in here it’s another world’. The Golden Lion is a pub in the hills, on the Lancashire/ West Yorkshire border that hosts gigs, events and DJ nights, hosted by Richard and Gig. Andrew played there regularly. In 2018 he hosted a weekend of events in West Yorkshire, Weatherall in the Calder Valley, playing a gig in Hebden Bridge with A Certain Ratio and DJ events at the Lion. His travelling cosmic disco, A Love From Outer Space, with Sean Johnston often appeared at the Lion.

The turn of events that has led to me and four friends actually being part of the celebrations and DJing in the Lion today, from 1pm through until Justin Robertson taking over as headliner at 10pm is as baffling to me as it is to others. We started out administering the Flightpath Estate Facebook group (a place for Andrew’s fans to share music and news). It grew slowly and then when Andrew died in February 2020 became a place for people to be, to share stories and enjoy the music. At some point Richard asked us if we’d like to DJ at the Lion and in what I can only describe as a sudden escalation of events, towards the end of last year we were asked to be part of AW60. Much of this is due to the internet and the way it has brought people together, made connections and turned online friendships into real life ones. My involvement comes ultimately because of this blog, the hundreds of posts I've written about Andrew and his music and the connections made through it, something I started back in 2010 with no real idea what I was doing and ending up here. 

Today’s celebrations have us playing in turn and back-to-back throughout the afternoon and evening, handing over to Justin Robertson around 10. At 9, in the upstairs room Timothy J. Fairplay will play live with a battery of synths and drum machines. Across the road old friends of Andrew’s Dave Beer and Bernie Connor will play records. Tomorrow, Andrew’s friends Curley and Sherman are both DJing at the Golden Lion (admission is free if you’re in the area) with a live set by Chris Rotter and Andy Bell in the evening where they will play the songs Chris played guitar on and helped create on Andrew's Pox On The Pioneers solo album. Later on, as bank holiday Monday beckons, Heidi Lawden and Lovefingers will be on.

Back in October we were invited to play with David Holmes, warming up for him. The afternoon was fairly quiet and were more or less playing songs for ourselves and each other plus a few afternoon drinkers. As the evening drew on the pub filled up a little and then in a way that still causes me to pinch myself, I was in the booth at 8.45 as David Holmes turned up, said hello and told me to keep playing. A few records later I handed over to him, the sort of thing that I never really expected to happen- why would I end up DJing with David Holmes? I can’t even mix very well. Today we have a long slot, will be taking it in turns with an hour each and then as the pub turns to a ticketed (and sold out) event, we’ll switch on and off with each other, three tracks each back to back, no doubt with someone putting on a record that is unfollowable or unmixable, with a knowing smile. I have become more nervous about this gig as the week has gone on, playing a DJ set in a pub filled with Andrew Weatherall’s friends, family and fans. I’ve woken up every morning fretting about track selection, technical details, general performance anxiety. And I’ve told myself too to relax and enjoy it- the room will be full of lovely people who just want to socialise, hear good music and have a good time.

‘Just what is it that you want to do?’

‘We want to be free to do what we wanna do… and we wanna get loaded and we wanna have a good time.’

What Andrew would have made of all of this, I have no idea. A chuckle, a shake of the head, a grimace at a messed up transition between one record and the next as his fans try to emulate him. 

Andrew and Justin remixed each other several times. In 2013 Andrew along with Timothy J. Fairplay as The Asphodells remixed Justin's Deadstock 33s track The Circular Path- crunchy sci fi electronic house music for the future. 

The Circular Path (Asphodells Remix)

Three years later Justin remixed The Confidence Man, a song from Andrew's solo album Convenanza (the original version I plan to play at some point today). Justin's remix goes full on with the squelchy bass and slo- mo space action.

The Confidence Man (Justin Robertson's Deadstock 33s Remix)

Anyway, wish us luck, we're going in. 

Friday 28 April 2023

Chocolate Hills

Alex Paterson's Orb side project Chocolate Hills announced a new song and album recently, the song called Cracking Kraken and the album Yarns From The Chocolate Triangle (out in June). Sometimes I think Orb world is being spread a bit a thin, release after release by multiple incarnations and offshoots but the quality remains high and Cracking Kraken seems to promise a lot- piano, deep sea submersion, ambient sound, distant drums, synths with a rupture towards the end and sampled voices and noises. No doubt it will all make more complete sense in the context of the full album. 

Chocolate Hills is Paul Conboy with Alex. Paul swears off computers using only analogue kit and pre- digital age gear. The ten track album is a musical expedition, an imaginary voyage by sea to the Bermuda Triangle and back. Back in 2019 Chocolate Hills released an album called A Pail Of Air, a deeply ambient and atmospheric seven track exploration of synths, sounds and samples which is one of the highlights of the recent Orb related releases. 


Thursday 27 April 2023

Trading Places

Out today from Jezebell, two new three track EPs with a single starting point but multiple routes- Trading Places (Daytime and Nightime Versions). Jezebell are Jesse Fahnestock and Darren Bell. They have an Ibiza takeover imminent, and these six tracks tell the story of a night out, the ebb and flow of day to night and back again in musical form. The six tracks, Trading Places 11AM, 3PM and 6PM on the daytime EP and Trading Places 10PM, 2AM and 5AM on the Nighttime, all began with the same initial sample and span out from there, ideas shuttling between them, music as infinite possibilities. Songs begin with a single spark- an idea, a riff, a sample, a line, a beat- and the decisions taken then fix that track/ song for the creator (and for the listener at the end). The six tracks here show what can happen when you take not just one route, but several, when ideas are followed not just this way, but that way too. Endless possibilities, nothing is fixed.

Trading Places (11AM) launches the day in easy style, a low-slung start with mid- paced drums and a padding bassline. Handclaps, a repeating synth part, bubbling sounds and eventually a horn part. Take a swig, get a little perked up, it’s still before lunch, no need to go mad.

3PM is a good time to be out, the whole day and night ahead, all sorts of possibilities in front and choices to be made. The track kicks a bit harder than 11AM with a clipped, choppy  guitar riff and looped ‘ah oh oh’ backing vocal. The funk bass synth bumps away. Upbeat, feel good, nothing to worry about.

6PM. You’re in the mood now, you’ve been out for a while, everything’s nicely groovy, the sun is out and the beer is cold. The track slides in lazily, catching your attention as it builds, synths parts and some hand drums. At thirty seconds the rhythm kicks in and pulls you forwards, the kick drum becoming more insistent. The vibrating synth toplines hit and there’s the stutter of a vocal sample. A female voice weaves her way in, suddenly and unexpectedly revealing itself as Siouxsie Sioux, imperiously saying peek- a boo. The bass pushes forward wrapping itself around the track and then Siouxsie’s back, ‘strobe lights pump and flicker… that’s right now hit the floor’. Not a request, more a command.

10PM. But then without you really noticing when, it’s gone dark and you’re somewhere else, somewhere familiar but with that thrill of the unknown. Lights and sound beckon, the thump of bass and the slight breathless feeling as the bass hits, feeling in the chest. ‘You know it’s us… start the music’ the voice says, ‘no trading places…’. Hypnotic and enveloping sound, music bursting out of the speakers and into the room, building. You couldn’t stop yourself now even if you wanted to. It’s out of your hands, the music’s in control. Breakdown and whooshing sounds at five minutes in give a pause for breath but only for a moment because when that kick drum comes back you’re moving again, caught in the moment.

2AM. Oh heck. Sirens. Throbbing bass. Speakers vibrating. Senses distorted. Smoke and dry ice. Everywhere. Your friends have vanished. No matter. The people you’re dancing with are our new friends. Everyone locked in to the same moment, the same feeling. ‘You you you… get up get up’ a voice says, somewhere in the mix, behind you maybe, or above you. Another vocal, chopped up and re- arranged. Limbs moving, hair now sticky with sweat. Drinks ordered and poured. Nods of recognition on the floor as the bass comes back. Smiles. Cheers. Whistles.

5AM. It’s late now. Or early, difficult to tell which. The voice is back, the one saying, ‘you know it’s us’. Things are slowing down slightly, the groove less insistent, the tempo a little slower. The voice there again, ‘Leave no traces/ Know your rights/ No trading places’. But things aren’t really easing up, the groove is still strong, the snare still cracking, the bass wanting to push you for one last spin round the floor, no let up even now, lost in it all. At dawn.

Both EPs are available from Bandcamp from today, Daytime Versions are here and Nighttime Versions are here. I recommend both as you can probably tell. 

Wednesday 26 April 2023

What Costume Shall The Poor Girl Wear?

Three Nico and The Velvet Underground coincidences came to me recently and I don't ignore these things when it comes to writing posts for the blog. First, the latest issue of Mojo (the music magazine for middle aged men) has a feature on the 50 Best Lou Reed and Velvet Underground songs in it, in which the song below features (as you'd expect). Second, the day after reading this countdown I played a clip to my GCSE History class about opposition to the Vietnam War. As the footage of students demonstrating, soldiers fixing bayonets and tear gas blowing about played the familiar and thrilling sounds of All Tomorrow's Parties came into earshot, John Cale's treated piano powering its way into my classroom as Moe Tucker's drums bashed away. Nico's deadpan, monotone vocal just about started as the clip finished. I had a little moment quietly to myself in front of a class of fifteen and sixteen year olds, a small shudder of 'fuck me, that was good', almost like hearing it for the first time again.

All Tomorrow's Parties

It is by any standards an amazing song, discordant and adrenaline filled, with nagging, off key guitar lines (Lou's famous ostrich guitar tuning) and claustrophobic production. The song is about Andy Warhol's clique at The Factory, a place where everyone said the 'most astonishing things, the craziest things, the funniest things, the saddest things', while Andy just watched. Cale later said it was about a girl called Darryl, 'a beautiful, petite blonde with three kids, two of whom were taken away from her'. Which is one of the saddest things as an observation on its own. 

Lou Reed and the others didn't want Nico in the band. Andy pushed her in, believing she could be a star. All Tomorrow's Parties was written partly to give her something to do on stage. But she makes it- her flat, accented, dead eyed, double tracked vocals are as important to this song as any other element of it. 

The third part of the triptych of coincidences was that not long ago I finished reading Nico, Songs They Never Play On The Radio, an account of Nico and her life from 1982- 1988, by James Young, the pianist in her touring band in the 80s. It's really well written recreation of the demi- world of Manchester musicians, hangers on and promoters who orbited around her, while she existed on heroin, red wine and cigarettes. There's no money, few gigs, no seems to enjoy themselves apart from occasionally very briefly, Nico hates everyone she's stuck with, especially the musicians- sometimes she appears on stage on her own with her harmonium, reluctant to let her ban join her. Occasionally they play a gig somewhere in Europe and an uber- fan appears which pisses her off as much as no one turning up. Touring is the only way to make any money but it disrupts her drug habit. James witnesses it all, participates in the gigs and recordings, writing sympathetically and making it clear there's little romance in this world (somehow though, even the absolute lack of romance has its own grimly romantic appeal). The book finishes with Nico's sad death in Ibiza in 1988 and her funeral in Germany, the mystery of her father and what happened to him and what he did during the war all wrapped up as part of Nico's allure. Highly recommended if you're after something to read. 

Tuesday 25 April 2023


A Certain Ratio played Manchester's New Century Hall on Saturday night, a homecoming gig three nights into a UK tour and an evening with lots of familiar faces in the crowd, a real gathering of the fans in a room that holds 1300 people. Not too long ago they were playing much smaller venues in the city and to smaller crowds- the deal with Mute, subsequent re- issueing of their back catalogue and the run of album and EP releases over the last few years has brought a real ACR renaissance. They are very much a band who don't want to repeat themselves, don't want to just play the old songs and who want to continue to move forward and break new ground. 

ACR take the stage at nine and play a seventeen song spanning over four decades, kicking off with Winter Hill, from 1981, a tense, urgent instrumental built around a clattering rhythm and a load of oscillating drones. It's followed by the title track from their recent album 1982, a piece of retro- futuristic dark funk, Jez singing of the year in question, on record all synths and robotic backing vocals, live on stage all dark disco- funk. Martin Moscrop and Don Johnson swap instruments throughout the night, between drums and guitar.

New singer Ellen Beth Abdi, stepping into a gap left by the huge presence of the late Denise Johnson, bounds on stage for the third song, Get A Grip (from 2020's Loco). What she lacks in years she more than makes up for in voice and energy, her vocals on both the new songs and old ones absolutely spot on. After a wild romp through Emperor Machine they hit the back catalogue with Lucinda from Sextet, a record from the early 80s, discordant otherworldly dance/ post- punk and follow this with one of the night's highlights, an immense and tense version of Flight, the 1980 single that laid so many of the foundations of their sound, Martin Hannett's dark and dense 1980 production filled out by this new six piece ACR. Current single Samo returns us to the present via the past, a Eno- Byrne indebted drum intro and Jez's spoken vocals building up to a joyous disco/ punk- funk/ rap tribute to Jean- Michel Basquiat's art and the New York crossover scenes of the early 80s. Do The Du is dropped in, early ACR's thrilling, stepped mechanical funk, a song which has been with me since first hearing it in 1987, when it was on a compilation tape my friend Darren made for me (who is here tonight, standing next to me, decades later). 

Jez Kerr had a bad year last year, a bout of serious illness and time out of the band- 'I was on sabbatical' he quips at one point. To help with this ACR have recruited a new bass player, the youthful Viv Griffin more than filling in for Jez so he can concentrate on singing, cowbell and whistles with the odd bit of bass. On one song, there are three members of ACR playing bass- Jez, Viv and Martin Moscrop. 'That's the problem with this band', Jez says, 'too many bass players'. 

Berlin from Loco is another highlight, pulsing bass, keyboards and soaring twin vocals from Jez and Ellen, with it's memorable chorus line 'You never, ever leave/ Your head alone'. Then they give us Mickey Way from 1986's Force, jazz- funk from the middle of the 80s sounding very much reborn with ascending trumpet and flute lines. The home straight brings the crowd pleasers- there are few ACR songs I'd want to hear more live than the next ones. First, the 1989 dance pop of The Big E (with the house piano chords pointing to Bernard Sumner's much loved remix, Won't Stop Loving You, a song dedicated to Denise- earlier Jez dedicated a song to Mark Stewart who died the day before, whose group The Pop Group were an enormous influence of early ACR). Then Good Together, one of my favourite ACR songs, with an acid house 303 squiggle, some borrowed Beach Boys lyrics and full on Hacienda rhythms, again sounding not retro but modernised. The final song is Shack Up, the scratchy, punk- funk cover that has been played in ACR sets since 1980. Declining to go off stage and back for the encore, they stay where they are- 'it's too far', Jez tells us- Knife Slits Water's weird, danceable, skeletal funk, pumped up sound and funked up basslines filling the hall, a song with post- punk's ominous instruction to dance despite it all, now sounding celebratory rather than full of early 80s dread. 

Knife Slits Water (12" Version)

The usual ACR set closer is Si Fermir O Grido, the samba grooves from Force where everyone on stage grabs a cowbell, shaker, whistle and drums, a Latin Manchester, and they don't let us down tonight. Martin and Don swap places at the drum stool mid song, Don slapping the bass, everyone else powering their way to the finale. This photo, one of three taken by Jez as the finish has me in far left of the shot, hands above my head applauding. 

Afterwards the band play a DJ set in the bar below New Century Hall where I bump into friends from Newcastle, previously only known via social media. We eventually leave via the foyer with a rather nice poster and a t- shirt, and after a while the realisation we have yet again managed to miss the last tram home, all the while Do The Du's stuttering funk rhythms playing in my head. 

Monday 24 April 2023

Mark Stewart R.I.P.

Mark Stewart's death at the age of 62 was announced on Friday. Mark was a towering presence in post- punk and in music thereafter, a man who saw music as an art form that should be provocative and challenging. The Pop Group, the Bristol group he led, brought together punk's guitars and confrontation, dub's space, free jazz's noise and funk's basslines with Stewart's politicised, expressive and sometimes ranting vocals, with Dennis Bovell at the controls. They were hugely important in influencing the wave of 80s and 90s industrial bands. When the group fractured in 1980 Stewart went on to New Age Steppers and then to work with a like- minded soul in Adrian Sherwood and the On U Sound collective. His Mark Stewart and The Maffia records were made firstly with On U musicians from Creation Rebel and later on the Tackhead trio of Doug Wimbish, Skip McDonald and Keith LeBlanc. 

This song was from 1983, the title track from his debut album although the edited version here is from a flexi- disc given away with a Dutch magazine. The album, all cut up electro beats, dub bass, distorted, sample- like vocals and Mark's politics, isn't an easy listen and it's not supposed to be. 

Learning To Cope With Cowardice ((Flexi Version)

In 2019 Mark's voice and denunciation of Brexit and all those who pushed it were at the centre of a single recorded by Jah Wobble and a post- punk supergroup containing Youth, Richard Dudanski, Keith Levene and drum tracks and loops courtesy of Andrew Weatherall and Nina Walsh. Mark Stewart- one of those people who you feel we shall not see the likes of again. R.I.P.

A Very British Coup

Sunday 23 April 2023

Six Hours At Blossom Street

Last Sunday three fifths of the Flightpath Estate DJ team (myself, Dan and Martin) played a six hour, vinyl only set at Blossom Street Social, a bar in Ancoats. We had a great time, a few people came down and seemed to enjoy the tunes. The idea was to celebrate the music and influences of Andrew Weatherall, so his music and remixes were obviously going to feature heavily in the setlist. The technical set up in the bar is first class- a pair of Technics 1210 turntables and a beautiful rotary mixer. The set was recorded live from the mixer and went up on Mixcloud yesterday. You can listen to it here

The session, which in Weatherall style/ homage we dubbed The First Mission, was six hours of unrehearsed live performance. It is therefore filled with moments of idiosyncratic charm. One person's idiosyncratic charm is of course another person's mistake (or total fucking mess) but if we were to do it again there are a few things we'd want to iron out. The second track in, my second record, Richard Norris' remix of Mark Peters' Sundowning, is a 33rpm record which I played at 45. I might have got away with this if Dot Allison's vocals two thirds of the way into the song weren't clearly too fast and too high. Embarrassingly I followed this with my next record, the ambient mix of Miranda Sex Garden's Gush Forth My Tears (by The Orb's Thrash) at 33 when it is a 45. Less noticeable but still, amateurish stuff. In my defence, I couldn't get the headphones working at this point and was busy sorting records out. Fortunately, the next tune, Malcolm McLaren's Madame Butterfly is played at the correct speed, as are the next four, at which point I handed over to Dan. Here I am pictured wondering what this knob does....

More pictures- from the top Andrew Weatherall's remix of Galliano's Skunk Funk spinning, part of a dubby section I played three hours in. It was during this section that, with the headphones now working, I managed to put on the Leo Mas and Fabrice remix 291out's Hannabera at 33rpm, switch it up to 45 and then change it back to the correct speed of 33. Below that Dan at the decks, shortly before being told off for playing customer frightening electro slightly too loud for a Sunday afternoon and then below that Dan and Martin, one of them possibly about to catch the stylus and bounce it off the surface of the record with a loud scratching clunk noise. The full tracklist is at the bottom. The mixing, rpm issues, stylus being bounced off by shirt sleeves and general incompetence are all our own work. The music is impeccable. 

{Adam} [0:00] Andy Bell - The Sky Without You (David Holmes Radical Mycology Remix) [6:00] Mark Peters- Sundowning (Richard Norris Remix) * wrong speed [11:00] Miranda Sex Garden- Gush Forth My Tears (Ambient Remix) * wrong speed [18:00] Sunsonic- Innocent Man [23:00] Peace Together – Be Still (Sabres Of Paradise Remix) [34:00] Malcolm McLaren - Madam Butterfly [40:00] AMOR - Unravel [46:00] Scott Fraser - A Life Of Silence [53:00] Beth Orton - Galaxy Of Emptiness [57:00] IWDG - In A Lonely Place (David Holmes Remix) {Dan} [1:01:00] Spiritualized - Come Together (Two Lone Swordsmen Mix) [1:11:00] Sabres Of Paradise - Edge 6 [1:16:00] Creation Rebel & New Age Steppers - Chemical Specialist [1:20:00] Tackhead - Now What? [1:27:00] Solar Bears - Separate From The Arc (Andrew Weatherall Mix 1) {1:28:00} {Dan twats stylus} [1:31:00] Sabres Of Paradise - Ballad Of Nicky McGuire [1:39:00] Eyes Of Others - Once, Twice, Thrice [1:42:00] Pleasure Pool - Modern Nature [1:46:00] Scott Fraser - Together More [1:55:00] Phil Kieran - Find Love (Andrew Weatherall Remix) {Martin} [2:02:00] Chris & Cosey - October (Love Song) [2:05:00] Two Lone Swordsmen - Get Out Of My Kingdom [2:12:00] Pete Molinari - Hang My Head In Shame [2:16:00] Johnny Bond - All I Can Do Is Cry [2:17:00] Buddy Greco - They Took John Away [2:20:00] Billy Fury - Don't Jump [2:23:00] Two Lone Swordsmen - No Girl In My Plan [2:29:00] David Holmes - I Heard Wonders (Andrew Weatherall Remix) [2:35:00] Summerisle Trio - Willow's Song {2:35:30} {Martin twats stylus} [2:40:00] Skylab - Seashell [2:46:00] Love T.K.O. - For What It's Worth [2:52:00] Two Lone Swordsmen - Brother Foster Through The Phones [2:55:00] New Order - Regret (Sabres Slow N Lo) {Adam} [3:02:00] St. Etienne - Only Love Can Break Your Heart (A Mix Of Two Halves) [3:06:00] Meatraffle - Meatraffle On The Moon (Andrew Weatherall Remix) [3:13:00] The Liminanas - Garden Of Love (Lundi Mouille Mix) [3:16:00] Richard Sen - Songs Of Pressure (Asphodells Remix) [3:19:00] The Sexual Objects- Sometimes (Andrew Weatherall Remix) [3:22:00] Galliano- Skunk Funk (The Soldiers Mix) [3:27:00] The Clash - Street Parade [3:30:00] Baris K - 200 (Asphodells Remix) {3:33:00} {Adam plays with the 33/45 selector} [3:34:00] 291out- Hannabera (Leo Mas and Fabrice Remix) [3:39:00] The Vendetta Suite - Purple Haze, Yellow Sunrise (David Holmes Remix)

{Dan} [3:45:00] Stereo MC's - Everything (Everything Grooves Pt.2) [3:55:00] LCMDF - Gandhi (Weatherall Remix 2) [4:01:00] Pleasure Pool - Ask Your Body [4:07:00] Curses - Ghost Of Arms [4:11:00] New Order - Your Silent Face {Martin} [4:17:00] Mike Garry & Joe Duddell - St Anthony: An Ode to Anthony H Wilson (Andrew Weatherall Remix) [4:25:00] Sam Roberts Band - We're All In This Together (Andrew Weatherall Remix) [4:30:00] Mugwump - Until You're Worth It (Andrew Weatherall Remix) [4:35:00] Primal Scream - Come Together (7" Edit)

{Adam} [4:39:00] A Certain Ratio - Do The Du [4:42:00] Crocodiles - Foolin' Around [4:45:00] Echo & The Bunnymen - Angels And Devils [4:49:00] Andrew Weatherall - Kicking The River [4:52:00] Wooden Shjips - Crossing (Andrew Weatherall Remix) [4:55:00] Moon Duo - White Rose [5:01:00] Silver Apples - Edge Of Wonder (Andrew Weatherall Remix)

{Dan} [5:08:00] Yello- Frautonium (Andrew Weatherall Warehouse Remix) [5:16:00] Andrew Weatherall- The Moton 5.2 {Martin} [5:22:00] The Orielles - Sugar Tastes Like Salt (Andrew Weatherall Remix) [5:25:00] Bocca Juniors - Raise (DJ History 7" Mix) [5:30:00] Primal Scream - Don't Fight It Feel It (Scat Mix) [5:36:00] Sabres Of Paradise - Smokebelch (Beatless) {Adam} [5:38:00] Carly Simon - Why

At this point having decided that full on Sunday evening Balearic dance action was the way forward I had the Tribal Remix of Pete Wylie's Sinful cued up and ready to play, but Dan and Martin had both just departed and my driver arrived outside and that was that, end of session, time to pack up and go home. But I think we will definitely do it again at some point.

Saturday 22 April 2023

Saturday Live

Back at the start of March I posted a half hour Sunday mix of The Woodentops and then a little over a month later chief Woodentop, Rolo McGinty, put a brand new song onto Bandcamp. The new song, Ride A Cloud, went onto the wider internet streaming sites a couple of days ago and is a thing of joy, a little bit of space Balearica, with acoustic guitars and wobbly synth sounds and Rolo singing about the dangers of following your dreams and getting what you want- 'If you can ride a cloud like a horse/ You can get there'.

Ride A Cloud concerns the story of Mike Massimo, a man who's ambition was to become an astronaut and work on the Hubble space telescope. He achieved this dream but when working up there, three hundred miles above the earth, he broke it. While unscrewing a bolt it snapped and in order to repair it he had to break a door open. The song is one of 2023's joys to date and I heartily recommend it. 

The band had a fearsome live reputation in the mid- 80s, a band playing upbeat and off kilter indie pop, getting faster and faster as the decade went on. Here they are filmed for Whistle Test in 1985 while playing in Derby, a shirtless Rolo leading the band through two songs- Move Me and It Will Come- 

In this clip three years later, filmed at the Dominion Theatre in London (at David Bowie's request) they romp through their best- known song, a seven minute version of Why Why Why, stand up drumming from Benny Staples, hubcaps being banged, the varnish being scrubbed off the tops of their guitars while Frank de Freitas plays a superbly rubbery bassline. 

This is the full twenty five minute set which the above clip is taken from, Bowie dancing in the wings. 

In 1986 the group had been recorded while playing a gig in Los Angeles, the frenetic Live Hypno Beat Live album (released in 1987). Why crossed over from this album to Ibiza when Alfredo began playing it in his sets and then back again to London's burgeoning clubland (it was a massive favourite at Shoom), the speed of the guitars, Rolo's delivery, all intensity and rush. The gig at The Palace in Hollywood was apparently the first time they were introduced to E.

Friday 21 April 2023

Omo Can

This came out last Friday on Duncan Grey's ever wonderful Tici Taci label, a two track release from Tirana, Albania, by Uj Pa Gaz. The frist track is Omo Can, all shimmer, flutter and bounce, jangly Balkan/ Balearica, five minutes of blissful sounds and a slice of summer come early. It's only April I know and it doesn't really feel like spring has arrived yet but May is just around the corner and this is the sort of track to play as you feel the first warmth of the sun coming through, as we have a little this week (the word for that is one of my favourite words- apricity- feeling the warmth of the sun in winter). Omo Can has a two note bassline, an acoustic guitar riff that sounds a little like The Woodentops, some synth judders and an irrepressibly upbeat tone.  

The second track is Fritz, cut from the same cloth but slightly wiggier, funky and for dancing. There's a lovely backwards guitar line/ synth line running through the last few minutes, Balkan cosmische. Back in 2019 there was a superb release also from Tirana and also connected to Duncan (via a remix) by an artist called Pines In The Sun who put out an EP with three tracks, Zig Zag Sea and Sun (plus the remix) and which this has prompted me to revisit. I'll follow it up here soon. 

Thursday 20 April 2023

Spiral Staircase

This is the fifth of five Luke Vibert posts, from my ongoing collaboration with reader Spencer- we have a new project that should have started by now. I've been a bit all over the place with things in recent weeks but will make every effort to get onto that now this run of posts is coming to a close. 

In 2004 Luke Vibert in his Wagon Christ mode held a remix competition via the magazine Future Music CD. That competition was won by Aphex Twin who remixed Wagon Christ's Sci Fi Staircase into this...

Spiral Staircase [Future Music Competition] (AFX Remix) 

It is Richard D James at his very best, opening with alternating synth notes and then an acid squiggle. A crunchy breakbeat hits after forty seconds and the three elements loop and spiral around each other, a hiss eventually pushing in too. More synths, a rising and falling topline that dances, almost visibly. The sudden stop at two minutes twelve gives the shortest of breaks and then the second half develops, more of the same but different slightly. There is some very loud sub-bass kicking in before the end section at around four minutes goes much deeper, into ambient techno territory and a long ending, sub bass capable of making car speakers jump from their moorings. It is deceptively beautiful, endlessly imaginative and quite beautiful. 

It may seem a little unfair that Aphex Twin won the competition. He knows Luke well from Cornwall and he put out many of Luke's recordings. On AFX's Soundcloud page he added some notes about the track which I put here verbatim...

best way i can explain this was falling in love with someone that didnt exist, it couldve been applied to anyone and everyone.
I mean it was for luke's competition but when I was making it I obviously had other thoughts going around me ed.
Was hard keeping it a secret from him, i had an advantage, i knew better than most what luke liked !-)
I gave the prize to the runner up, i forgot his name now.
It's quite quiet because the sub is so loud and low, trade/off.

I've sequenced the five Luke Vibert tracks from this mini- series into one twenty- seven mix but including the alternative version of Spiral Staircase rather than the one above, a minute shorter and opening with that sub bass wobble and then the dancing melody line. 

Bagging Area/ Spencer Luke Vibert Mix

  • Plug: Me And Mr. Jones
  • Luke Vibert: Doozit
  • Kerrier District: Disco Nasty
  • Wagon Christ: Spiral Staircase [Future Music Competition] (AFX ALTRemix)
  • Luke Vibert: Back With Me
The previous posts with my warblings about each track are here- Plug's Me And Mr Jones, Doozit, Kerrier District's Disco Nasty and Back With Me

Wednesday 19 April 2023


Dickie Continental, the new musical vehicle for Red Snapper's drummer Rich Thair, has an album out on Acid Jazz. Un... is a distinctive album, a very urban sounding marriage of light and shade, with some mid- 90s trip hop vibes going on and dub influences and production. Recorded at Rich's studio in South Wales, his intention was to work quickly, acting on simple ideas, ones that came first and weren't overworked- most of the eleven songs are three to four minutes long, tracks moving by quickly and then its on to the next one. It sounds very much like it was made using a 'first thought best' philosophy, it has a freshness and a directness to its grooves despite some of it being shrouded in some dark atmospherics and textures. Un... is an album for late night listening, for drives round after dark, moody and overcast but with sultry and soulful moments too. 

Evolution 2 is a mid- paced smoky crawl, horns and the chatter and hubbub of voices. Chico Flores is named after the Spanish footballer, centre back for Swansea City between 2012 and 2014, three minutes of tripped out disco funk. Pike has a off kilter accordion or organ line, a ticking cymbal and discordant noises. Final song Hammersmith is all spooked synth sounds, a drum machine on the edge, and some Sabres Of Paradise menace working its way in. This one is Split , a slightly dislocated song for the small hours, piano, then drums and a blurry, backwards sound that throws it off kilter, with Jo Sims' soulful but half asleep vocals layered on top. 

Un... is at Bandcamp

Tuesday 18 April 2023


A new album from On U Sound legends African Head Charge was hinted at last year by Adrian Sherwood and last week the first fruits of it appeared online in the shape of a single titled Microdosing. Percussionist and drummer Bonjo Nyabinghi Noah formed African Head Charge in the early 80s, a wide cast of players, contributors and musicians joining in across a multitude of albums, most released on On U Sound- many of them have been re- released in recent years along with a box set. From 1981's My Life In A Hole In The Ground to the classic Songs Of Praise in 1990, Sherwood and Bonjo set about fulfilling a vision to realise a psychedelic Africa, 'outernational' rhythms and drumming crossed with dub. In 2020 an album of outtakes from 1990- 1993, the Churchical Chant Of The Iyabinghi, was released and the box set Drumming Is A Language pulled together the recordings from 1990 to 2016 across five CDs. You can't go wrong with anything with the African Head Charge name on it really. 

Healing Father's Dub was on Churchical Chant... a very mashed up, dubbed out version of a track from the mighty Songs Of Praise. 

Healing Father's Dub

New track Microdosing  comes ahead of the album A Trip To Bolgatanga, out in July, inspired by a trip to Bonjo's current home in Ghana. Stringed instruments, chanting, hand drums, organ, Sherwood's dub space and echo- a deceptively complex track too, each listen revealing more. Hearing it in the context of the album with a further nine songs around it promises to be one of summer's highlights. 

Monday 17 April 2023

Monday's Long Song

The newest release on Mighty Force is by a duo named M- Paths, the latest in a line of impressive albums coming out on the Exeter label. Marcus Farley and Nick Murray met at school and came together through backgrounds in DJing and drumming and have pooled their experiences and influences- chill out rooms in early 90s clubs and the meditative ambient/ indie of the 4AD bands. One of the tracks on Hope is titled M- Paths By Name, Empaths By Nature- as well as this and the names of some of the other songs (Grow, Calm, The Connection, The Path, Autumn's Safe Haven) the music, ambient techno and warm electronica, feels like it is facing the sun after a long winter. M- Paths want to feel connected to nature and to people and the thirteen tracks on Hope all point in an optimistic direction.

Grow (Part Two) is a perfect example of what can be found on Hope- shimmering, colourful synths, pulsebeat drums and sparkling melodic toplines, unfolding over seven minutes. Natural feeling ambient techno, full of warmth and and done with a real lightness of touch. 

The last track on Hope, The Colour Of The Trees, is another long one, clocking in at over eight minutes, and worth giving the time to fully. It starts out slowly with what sounds like a deep exhalation of breath. Repeating synth lines work their way in with some piano, running water and rumbles of distant thunder, building gradually, the rippling melodies circling over the backdrop of found sounds, birds and rain. Hope can be bought/ listened to at Bandcamp

Sunday 16 April 2023

Forty Five Minutes of Sonic Boom

Pete Kember's music in Spacemen 3 and afterwards as Spectrum, E.A.R. and Sonic Boom, sometimes looks like one long blissed out haze of analogue synths, shimmering waves, drones and endless repetition. Nothing wrong with that. His back catalogue has a wealth of songs, albums and remixes. The three quarters of an hour below contains nothing from his 1994 masterpiece Highs, Lows And Heavenly Blows, a treatise on meditative, tranced out, hypnotic guitar and synth drones with Sonic's trademark lethargic vocals, and that's solely because I don't have any of the songs from it in digital format. Pete currently lives in Sintra, Portugal which is clearly good for his work rate- he's released two new albums since 2020 and toured to promote them, along with last year's album with Panda Bear, as well as producing albums by Cheval Sombre, Beach House and Moon Duo. 

Forty Five Minutes Of Sonic Boom

  • Tremeloes
  • True Love Will Find You In the End (Alternate Version)
  • How You Satisfy Me
  • Just Imagine
  • The Horizon (Sonic Boom No Drums Version)
  • Almost Nothing Is Nearly Enough
  • Frozen (Sonic Boom Mix)
  • Warmth Of The Sun (Sonic Boom Remix)

Tremolos and True Love Will Find You In The End were both released as Spectrum in 1992, the former a four minute wobbly, two note drone and the latter a gorgeous cover of  Daniel Johnson's most well known song. They were also on a 1997 compilation called What Came Before After which is where this version of True Love Will Find You In The End is from. 

How You Satisfy Me is from 1992's Soul Kiss (Glide Divine), an album that came with a translucent, liquid sleeve. Rare and expensive second hand and prone to bursting/ degrading. 

Just Imagine was the lead song from 2020's All Things Being Equal. Almost Nothing Is Nearly Enough was a follow up a year later, with a remix of Just Imagine and some new songs.

The Horizon is by Sinner DC, a Swiss ambient/ electronic/ drone group who have made a dozen albums since the 1990s.

Frozen, not from the Disney film about a snowman of the same name, is by The Insect Guide, a duo from Leeds who formed in 2005 and released two albums between 2007 and 2010.

Warmth Of The Sun is by Pye Corner Audio from last year's Let's Emerge album, a track with Andy Bell on guitar. Sonic Boom remixed three of the songs for an EP titled Let's Remerge.  

Saturday 15 April 2023

Saturday Live

1991, A Man Called Adam (Sally Rodgers with a superbly '91 bowl cut and body warmer, Steve Jones on keys, synths, samples and long sleeved t- shirt and Leftfield's Paul Daley on congas, bongos and bucket hat) kicking up a Balearic storm at The Town And Country Club. Part One opens with Barefoot In The Head, the song that when all's said and done is the one they'll be remembered for, a genuine classic. 

As ever with these things, the crowd are as much the stars as the performers on stage- lots of dilated pupils and baggy jeans, bobbing and shuffling from left to right, hands pumping and shoulders rolling. Part Two raises the temperature with Ameoba, 808s, warm synth sounds, jazzy/ Latin melodies and some very late 80s/ early 90s sentiments in the lyrics- 'All we want/ and we need / Is something better to believe'.


Part Three is only a couple of minutes completing things, Sally and the crowd frugging to the beats and piano. Weirdly but brilliantly, the YouTuber's upload suddenly cuts into N- Joi doing Anthem on Top Of The Pops, that video cassette that he kept by the VCR ready to tape anything of interest turning into a long compilation of late night TV and early evening music programmes. We all had some of those didn't we?

Anthem (Original Mix)

Friday 14 April 2023

Back At The Facility

More from the wider Weatherall connected world and some fine oompty- bumpty disco music to end the week. The Woodleigh Research Facility dates back to 2015, Andrew Weatherall and Nina Walsh creating an album The Phoenix Suburb (And Other Stories) in their recording facility in deepest south London, a collection of long tracks that find their own weird space somewhere between dub and deep house/ disco. In 2018 the very limited, vinyl only, 127 To Facility 4 album saw the light of day being sold from the back of a truck, each with it's own hand crafted sleeve, ten shorter slices of minimal, dystopic modern techno. It was followed in 2020 by a series of monthly emissions from Facility 4, twelve EPs of three tracks. 

Last week Nina released Apparently Solo, three tracks from the vaults and the W.R.F. sound library (much of which is samples made up from recordings from Nina's late partner Erick Legrand. His guitar is on this newest release). Lead track Shlap is a homage to the Detroit techno of London's late 80s clubs, a sound that is part of the W.R.F. DNA, the drum machine crunching away as only a 303 can. Crack- Ed follows, bouncing rhythms, springs and whirrs, and a bubbling bassline that can be felt as well as heard. Crack-Ed is also, in title, a response to the streets and environment outside Facility 4.

The third track on Apparently Solo is Mistress Ploppy, a Black Adder reference- you can't go wrong with Black Adder can you? Half the proceeds from Apparently Solo will go to Shelter, one of  Andrew's chosen charities. One of the W.R.F. monthly releases in 2020 contained Somnium, an elegiac recording with guitar, viola and eventually those familiar chuggy WRF drums. 

Somnium was originally a tribute to Droog, Nina's faithful dog. A different version of Somnium, Goodnight Sweet Droog, can be heard at Nina's Bandcamp page, a lush and affecting piece of music, part of a three track EP celebrating the life of her canine friend. 

Thursday 13 April 2023

The First Mission

It's a bit late in the day to advertise this but we've been a bit tardy with arrangements-amateurish you might say- and it's always better late than never. The Flightpath Estate is a Facebook group that was formed nine years ago to share news, recordings and information about Andrew Weatherall. It grew fairly slowly and only numbered a couple of hundred members until February 2020 when it grew  suddenly and quickly following Andrew's death. It now has over two thousand members and has become something more than a Facebook group- it is a genuine community of fans and friends. It is also the front door to the Weatherdrive, an archive of Andrew's DJ sets and mixes lovingly curated and annotated. To listen to it all would currently involve over 1300 hours of listening time.  The five of us that run and admin the page (me, Martin, Mark, Dan and Barry) were asked to contribute to an article in last Thursday's Guardian written by Joe Muggs on the occasion of what would have been Andrew's 60th birthday and two of us, myself and Martin, were quoted in the article. You can read it here. When I started this blog in 2010 and then helped Martin to set up The Flightpath Estate group I didn't expect that I'd end up being quoted in The Guardian in reference to Andrew Weatherall and his legacy but we are where we are as they say. 

The Flightpath Estate managed to get ourselves a DJ gig at The Golden Lion last October, supporting and warming up for David Holmes. We're back at the Lion at the end of the month to do the same for Justin Robertson as part of the AW60 celebrations. Again, when I started this blog I really didn't expect it would lead to this. We've been keen to do something for the group in real life and knocked about the idea of doing a Flightpath Estate social, a monthly meet up where we can get together, play records and people from the group can come down and join in. The first Flightpath Estate social is happening this Sunday, 16th April, at Blossom Street Social, a bar in Ancoats. This time around, the first outing (or First Mission in Two Lone Swordsmen terms), the northern members of the admin team- me, Dan and Martin- are on duties. If you're Manchester/ north west based, fancy a pint and a chinwag and some good music, please feel free to come down and say hello. Entry is free. We're on from 2pm through til the evening. We've managed to choose a date which coincides with the Manchester marathon and the end of the Easter holidays- whether these will affect attendance at our shindig remains to be seen. We may end up playing long Weatherall remixes to a disheveled groups of runners with finisher's medals round their necks. We may end up playing records for the enjoyment of no- one except ourselves. 

In 1996 Two Lone Swordsmen released their first full length album, a triple vinyl, fifteen track opus (or eighteen track monster if you bought it on double CD). The album, The Fifth Mission (Return To The Flightpath Estate), gave our Facebook group its name and gives us our starting point, our first mission. On the album Weatherall and Keith Tenniswood cast a wide net, all manner of slow and mid- paced, downtempo, experimental, electronic music goings on, from the huge bassline and trip hop drums of Big Man Original to the stoned, filtered, distorted guitar of Enemy Haze through to the wonky Kraftwerk- isms of Beacon Block and the double time, two- step, double bass plus electronics of Rico's Helly, it's a wigged out journey through the night, experimental but accessible too. The Flightpath Estate of the title is a reference to the studio they worked in, a first floor flat above a dry cleaner's under the Heathrow flightpath. Weatherall had a knack for taking the ordinary and the mundane and giving it a glamour in song titles and names. On the CD there were three extra tracks. This one, Extended Branch Brothers, sounds like the experience of being dislocated and discombobulated after a night out, in the back of  a mini- cab in the early hours, wanting to be home and in bed but safe too in the warm environs of the taxi as it glides through the suburbs towards the dawn. 

Extended Branch Brothers

Wednesday 12 April 2023

Back With Me

My collaboration with reader Spencer, an irregular series where he sends me a song and I write about it, has focussed recently on the output of Cornish DJ/ producer Luke Vibert. In previous weeks I've posted the Hammer House of Horror/ drum 'n' bass of Mr. Jones And Me, the sampledelic Doozit and the funked up sci fi of Kerrier District. After a break of a couple of weeks, I'm back on the Vibert trail today with a 2017 rave/ house thumper, Back With Me. It was a track that was new to me, from a 2020 compilation album out on Hypercolour Patterns along with artists such as DMX Crew, A Sagittarian and Alphonse. Back With Me is a perfect spring pick me up, filled with energy and a desire to nothing me than make you smile/ dance. 

Back With Me

There's a lot going on here although it sounds very simple- a well chosen vocal sample, some hyperactive rave stylings, breakbeat drums, rising early 90s synth chords and a piano part that hits hard. Although Back With Me sounds very simple, basic even, there's lots going on and the production is superb. The breakdown and re- entry just before the three minute point and subsequent siren send this into orbit.

The vocal sample is from a 1986 underground electro single by Petria, I Miss Your Love, a record that conjures up all kinds of 80s- isms. 

Tuesday 11 April 2023

Tidal Love/ Seen From Above

We spent last weekend on the western coast of northern England and the weekend just gone on the east coast, a few days in a caravan north of Hartlepool. The beach north of Hartlepool is dramatic and beautiful, a little wild and both unspoilt and post- industrial. The beach has coal mixed into the sand, the coal seam surfacing in the sea and lumps of coal and coal dust being washed up on the beach. The view above was taken on Monday evening at high tide, standing at the edge of the north sea looking out towards Europe at dusk. The one below was on Saturday morning, much bluer and brighter skies.

I love a beach with bits of the industrial past half buried in the sand, the tide wearing it away slightly more every day. The coast is good for the soul. 

Two new songs for Tuesday. First is new from Andy Bell, a frequent visitor to these pages in solo form, as GLOK and as a member of Ride. He has recorded a four track with Masal, out in May, with the first track from it being available to listen to and buy now. Tidal Love Conversation In That Familiar Golden Orchard is described at Bandcamp as 'ambient, astral jazz' and that fits perfectly. Andy's wandering, cosmische guitar lines are underpinned by brushed drums, analogue synths and harp, a light, floating psychedelic exploration. 

Also out last Friday is the latest from Pye Corner Audio, who has previously worked with Andy, remixing six songs from The View From Halfway Down, with Andy returning the favour by playing guitar on last year's Let's Emerge album. The new Pye Corner Audio track, Seen From Above, is at Bandcamp (a pay what you want deal) and is a return to the darker, dystopic sounds he's known for with a kick drum and hi hat adding some propulsion to the menace. Dark techno, the flipside to Andy and Masal's Tidal Love. 

Monday 10 April 2023

Bank Holiday Monday Long Songs

Richard Norris' latest Music For Healing came out on Friday, a beautifully relaxed twenty minute voyage titled Equinox 4 Alban Elir (translation- spring solstice). The stone above is one of the forty- two stones at Castlerigg stone circle, situated at the centre of an enormous natural bowl near Keswick, constructed roughly 5000 years ago in the Neolithic. We visited last weekend while driving home through the Lake District and it never fails to impress. 

Equinox 4 Alban Elir comes in two versions, 3 and 4, and can be listened to or bought at Bandcamp. Slowly rippling synth lines, a background haze, some pops and bubbles, a calming drone- an ideal start to a bank holiday, twenty minutes of brain soothing, guided meditation music an dedicated to Andrew Weatherall for his 60th birthday too. 

At the other end of the bank Hholiday scale is the Bacchanalian excess of Flowered Up's 1992 epic Weekender. Andrew Weatherall remixed it twice, the first one a fifteen minute excursion of juddering bass loop, backing vocal turned into main vocal, synths, crunching drums, breakdowns, echo effects, Liam Maher stuttering, sirens, bongos and congas, time shifting tempo changes, not a little mania and general sense of excess. It's your bank holiday- make your choice.

Weekender (Audrey Is A Little Bit Partial)

Sunday 9 April 2023

Half An Hour Of King Tubby

The beach at St. Bees, Cumbria, has some interesting features as well as its own natural beauty. These two rings up the cliff face, presumably for mooring boats to, both well worn by the sea and time. The soft cliff face and rocks have been a haven for graffiti artists and people wanting to scratch their name, leave a reminder of who visited and when. There are lots of names from 1985 and 1986, the traditional so- and- so loves so- and- so (do they still? ) and some much older graffiti, some dating back to the holiday makers and day trippers from the 19th century (as seen below). 

The cross in the photo above is my concession to Easter. Happy Easter. Sunday, whether Easter or not, is always a good day for some dub and dub doesn't get more serious or better than when King Tubby is at the controls. I put this mix together with hundreds of King Tubby tracks, dubs and songs in front of me, hours and hours worth and almost all of it as good as anything that came from Jamaica in the 70s. 

  • Tommy McCook And The Aggrovators: Disco Rockers
  • King Tubby: We Rule
  • Tommy McCook And The Aggrovators: The Dub Station
  • Yabby You and King Tubby: Warning Version
  • Augustus Pablo: 555 Dub Street
  • King Tubby: Dub From The Roots
  • King Tubby: A Better Version
  • King Tubby And The Aggrovators: Dub Fi Gwan
  • King Tubby: Declaration Of Dub
  • Augustus Pablo: King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown
Tommy McCook and The Aggrovators' Super Star- Disco Rockers came out in 1977, the year two sevens clash. Tubby engineered it. Tommy McCook and The Aggravators Dub Station album came out two years earlier, one of the best dub albums there is- lush, melodic, dramatic, Tubby manipulating volume, mix and FX at the desk. It bounces. 

Yabby You and King Tubby's Conquering Lion dates from 1977. An expanded edition from 2021 on Pressure Sounds with all the dubs is serious summer music. Listen with a glass of rum and ginger on ice. 

555 Dub Street and the title track that closes the mix above both come from Augustus Pablo's classic 1976 album, King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown, one of dub's definitive texts with a line up of the best dub musicians at their peak- Robbie Shakespeare and Aston Barrett on bass, Carlton Barrett on drums and Earl 'Chinna' Smith on guitar. 

Dub Fi Gwan- clattering drums, endless rhythms, rimshots, echo and bassline- was the final track on Dub Gone Crazy, a 1994 Blood And Fire compilation of Tubby tracks from the 1975- 1979 era. It turned me on to King Tubby and dub in a big way. 

A Better Version is from an expanded version of King Tubby Presents: The Roots Of Dub, a King Tubby album from 1975, Horace Andy's Skylarking twisted inside itself and dubbed out into space. Strangely I've missed including anything from the original version of that album in this mix- a Tubby Mix Two will have to follow at some point. 

Dub From The Roots and Declaration Of Dub are both from 1975's Dub From The Roots, his first full length, self- titled album, dubwise versions of Bunny Lee songs. 

Saturday 8 April 2023

Saturday Live

Last Saturday's Saturday Live post was Husker Du in blistering form in 1985 in London. Today brings Minnesotan contemporaries The Replacements (also included in Thursday's Andrew Weatherall post and mix). The Replacements- Paul Westerberg, Tommy and Bob Stinson and Chris Mars- were by all accounts a raucous and chaotic live experience, often self sabotaging, screwing their own songs up, lurching into fragments of covers and often too drunk to stand up never mind play. At a showcase set up specifically for them to impress record label bigwigs they got pissed and pissed everybody off. When they appeared on Saturday Night Live they were so drunk/ stoned (backstage with Harry Dean Stanton) Bob Stinson fell over making his way to the studio and broke his guitar. The programme banned them from appearing again. 

On the other hand Peter Jesperson saw them in 1980 at a local venue and signed them on the spot. He became their manager and cheer leader, keeping them going when the only person in the audience at the gig was Jesperson himself. In February 1986 they played at Maxwell's, Hoboken, New Jersey. Their label Sire (and RIP Seymour Stein, Sire's label boss and guiding light, who died just this week) recorded the show for a possible live album. It finally saw the light of day officially in 2017, a double CD set of twenty nine songs. It is a fine document of the band on a good night, a band with enough great songs to fill much bigger venues and a counter to Bob Stinson's assertion that 'there are no good Replacements live recordings'. In one eight song run in the first half of the gig they play these songs, guitars trebly and fuzzed up, the four players locked in, Paul singing his self- deprecating lyrics, raw and good voice...

I Will Dare (Live at Maxwell's 1986)

Favourite Thing (Live at Maxwell's 1986)

Unsatisfied (Live at Maxwell's 1986)

Can't Hardly Wait (Live at Maxwell's 1986)

Bastards Of Young (Live at Maxwell's 1986)

Kiss Me On The Bus (Live at Maxwell's 1986)

They also play Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out and Takin' A Ride as part of that run of songs and then follow Kiss Me On The Bus with Black Diamond. Occasional dropped notes and tuning issues but they sound great, alive and far from the sloppy mess they're often portrayed as. 

Five years earlier they played this set, filmed at 7th Street Entry, Minneapolis. Husker Du headlined- imagine seeing both bands on the same night in 1981. This is faster, punkier stuff, mainly focussing on songs from Sorry Ma, I Forgot To Take Out The Trash. Fast and furious, twelve songs in twenty five minutes.