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The 12 best DJ mixes from Andrew Weatherall archive The Weatherdrive

The Weatherdrive contains 900 hours of DJ mixes. Here are 12 of the best DJ sessions from the Guv'nor

  • As compiled by the Flightpath Estate Hardcore Squad: Words by Adam Turner with tactical support from Martin Brannagan & Mark Ratcliff
  • 3 March 2020

The response to the Weatherdrive has been unprecedented. What was released in 2019 as a resource for the Flightpath Estate Facebook group has been shared far and wide since Andrew’s untimely death on February 17.

While it is currently struggling under the strain of increased traffic and is sometimes unavailable, the Weatherdrive is still a free resource but If you are using, listening and experiencing it and wish to pay your respects please consider a donation to one of the charities that was important to Andrew: Amnesty International, Multiple Sclerosis Society, Crisis or Thrombosis UK.

Please also consider purchasing or streaming some of his music to support his musical partners and his estate, including recent single 'Unknown Plunderer' released on ByrdOut and digital singles by The Woodleigh Research Facility.

Here are the 12 'best' mixes from the Weatherdrive, as picked by The Flightpath Estate Hardcore Squad.

Prologue:

‘McGuire was tired and trudged back to the office. He’d been out all day walking from Jacob Street to Chapel Street Market the long way round, tracking the movements of Wilmot (a man who knew how to stay down and hidden when he wanted to). In the office he fell into his chair and flicked the radio on. Garbage spewed out. McGuire pushed the tape deck shut and pressed play…’

1
The Hardiker Tape, 1991

The Hardiker Tape sounds like it’s from 1991, when Weatherall’s sets straddled the porous lines between Balearic, nascent prog and hardcore - the recording is not as good as the similar Kaos one from ’91 but what it does have is lashings of classic Wevvers crossfader action as well as ridiculously euphoric hardcore gurners, Convert’s 'Nightbird' bashing up against the likes of his own (just finished) sultry, E- soaked remix of One Dove’s 'Fallen'. Lord Sabre rides out.

Read this next: Andrew Weatherall: A sonic revolutionary and free spirit

2
The Hacienda, July 1993

One to raise the spirits and send arms aloft, a night at Manchester’s most famous nightclub with a set taking in the full English breakfast of pounding drums, acidic squiggles, breakdowns, peaks and troughs, a strobe-lit frenzy with the unmistakeable smell of dry ice. Speedy J, Psychick Warriors Ov Gaia, Blake Baxter, Ege Bam Yasi. Now it’s known as old-skool. Then it was the future.

3
BBC1 Essential Mix 1993

This one is a genuine contender for the greatest of all the Essential Mixes. This was only the 3rd ever Essential Mix and Weatherall comes in hard. Opening with Killing Joke’s continent-sized bassline, which eventually grinds its way into Sabres Of Paradise’s 'Edge 6' and then onwards into another of his own works, a remix of Brothers Love Dubs. Only six tracks in and we’ve already taken in all that plus LFO and then the hair raising segue from 'Smokebelch' into Plastikman’s 'Spastik'. Black Dog, Innersphere and Planetary Assault Systems all follow. Taped off the radio and re-taped and shared and re-taped and burned onto CD and uploaded and shared….

Footnote: his second Essential Mix in 1996 was equally essential. Sublime deep house with crossed swords.

4
Full Monty, December 1994

The sound of Andrew Weatherall in full flight circa 1994, having moved away from the E’d-up euphoria of the 'Screamadelica' years towards something harder and grungier, a sound that really took off during his Sabresonic residency - the astonishing remix he did for Espiritu’s 'Bonita Manana' jostles up against a pounding mix of Musical Science by, um, Musical Science and a favourite of his sets at the time, Ron Trent’s techno classic 'Altered States' underscoring his new found commitment to techno.

Read this next: Andrew Weatherall would want you to push boundaries

5
Blood Sugar, May 1998

Blood Sugar became Weatherall’s vehicle of choice, a minimal, dark, purist extension of the Two Lone Swordsmen sound. There are various mixes from 1998. The one from May, split over parts One and Two, is to submerge oneself into the depths of machine funk: sub-bass, hiss and echo, clicks and whirrs, distorted sounds and static, staccato bursts, rhythm and sound and Rhythm And Sound and that long, dubbed-out, persistent groove.

6
Two Lone Swordsmen Rotters Golf Club Mix for One World, March 2001

Two hours of glitched-up machine funk from the Swordsmen in their electro prime late at night on Radio One - chock full of their own material under multiple pseudonyms (2ls, Rude Solo, Klart, Hidden Library, Radioactive Man), including tracks that only ever saw the light on rare Japanese CDs or 7"s alongside spliced-up hip hop, electro, breakbeat weirdness from Prefuse 73 and Kool Keith amongst others. Here's part One and Two.

7
DJ set supporting Lung, Rotter & Seven, London Pure Groove, July 2009

The nascent A Love From Outer Space (ALFOS) sound was evident before the ‘never knowingly exceeding 122bpm’ dictum was set in stone. This set has elements which sound appropriately low slung and exhibit a strong Middle Eastern vibe. There are hybrid tunes which oscillate somewhere between house and dub (exhibit A, Soft Rocks’ 'Slowdown') and there are classic bits of indie dance where chunky rhythms meet phat guitars uptown (exhibit B, Phoreski’s 'Proud To be A Fool'). Two years after this the seminal ALFOS residency at The Drop started but the sound of those nights was already swishing around inside the man’s head.

8
Moon Mix, 2011

Done in conjunction with Japanese outfit Oki-Ni the Moon Mix is only an hour long, but every minute is perfectly weighed and considered. A low key, largely beatless affair, with moody strings, spectral pianos, lots of hiss and acres of space. A sort of ambient-shoegaze-gothic night of the soul that surfaces into uplifting but still unpredictable electronica.

9
A Love From Outer Space, Electric Elephant, Tisno, Croatia July 2013

In 2010 Andrew and Sean Johnston began a travelling disco that took on a life of its own. Billed as ‘an oasis of slow in a world of ever increasing velocity’ they pioneered what Andrew called ‘drug chug’, a space age, cosmische, ecstatic trip. At Croatia’s Electric Elephant festival in 2013, playing on a boat, they achieved something that people who were present talk of in religious terms, five hours of transcendence. The final section alone is worth the price of admission, a segue from The Human League to Weatherall’s own remix of Fuck Buttons’ 'Sweet Love For Planet Earth', to A.R. Kane and finishing with Kölsch’s 'Der Alte'.

Read this next: The best Andrew Weatherall mixes

10
Terraforma, Milan, June 2017

A masterclass in how to create a seamless, thrilling, perfectly joined up DJ set which contains little that could actually be described as dance music but which is still aimed at moving feet. At the Terraforma Festival near Milan Weatherall played to a field of Italians half his age and had them grooving to Fujiya Miyagi, 80's Paisley Underground rockers The Dream Syndicate and Moon Duo among many others in a two-hour set. Post punk, indie, psyche rock, general weirdness - but to dance to.

11
Red Rooster Festival, Suffolk, June 2019

Weatherall’s rockabilly sets are almost as legendary as his 90s techno ones or the 2010s ALFOS excursions. A rockabilly, garage and rock ‘n’ roll obsessive since his youth, he played at Red Rooster in summer 2019 and delivered a set that combines wrangling guitars, frenzied rhythms, stand-up bass, squealing sax, the obscure, the weird and the downright dirty.

12
Music’s Not For Everyone, NTS Radio, January 2020

Andrew Weatherall’s monthly radio show for NTS had already become an essential listening experience, a tour de force of outsider and outlier music. The first edition of 2020, and what turned out sadly to be his penultimate show, is fast becoming legendary. It launches from what could be called ambient but over the two hours takes us on a cosmic, eclectic instrumental trip. Reflective and redemptive and perfectly timed. In the great man’s own words ‘dusting the ornaments on the mantelpiece of your mind’.

Epilogue:

‘McGuire wasn’t sure how long he’d been asleep, but he’d definitely nodded off. He stood up, stretched and peered through the blinds of the window that looked out over Dean Street. Going back to the desk he took the cassette out of the machine and looked at the label. It had been scratched off and a new one put over the top at least twice. Biro and Tippex engravings. Through the faded labels and half peeled stickers, he could make out the words ‘sabre’ and ‘Witherspoon’, possibly something about outer space. He put the tape in his pocket, turned up the collar of his coat and stepped outside…’

Read this next: Get the best of Mixmag direct to your Facebook DMs

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