February 19, 2020
Remembering the Guv’nor – a singular force in music.
Following the tragic news of producer, DJ, artist, and omnipotent sonic pioneer Andrew Weatherall’s sudden death, it’s hard to know where to begin when looking back on a career that spanned over 30 years. From slung-out chuggers to retina-searing electro, give the man any bpm and he’d find the perfect rhythm for it. His music productions, DJ sets, and radio shows transcended genres, a reflection of the open-mindedness he maintained toward art of all types, throughout the course of his 56 years.
While it would be foolish to choose a ‘best of’ selection of Weatherall’s mixes, especially given the prolificness and range of his output, here are a few personal favourites, as well as several from friends who adored him.
These are skewed heavily toward the past 10 years, as that’s when I discovered, and began to appreciate, his incantatory realms. That was the beauty of Weatherall, though. Go to any of his sets, and you’d be met with a forever welcoming and respectful crowd, filled with all ages. There was no sense of snooty dance music elitism in Weatherall’s world.
“Records are like voices from the past,” he shared in an interview with The Vinyl Factory. Yet somehow, Weatherall managed to always be gazing, or chugging – a word forever associated with the man, firmly into the future.
Essential Mix, 27 October 1996
Andrew Weatherall takes on the dance music big kahuna – Radio One’s Essential Mix – for the second time, following his debut appearance in 1993. Across two hours, he delivers a mesmerising masterclass – in seamless transitions, techniques and immense groove – the kind that you wish could blast out on loop from the heaviest speaker stacks you’ve ever heard. Though I wasn’t old enough to catch this the first time it was aired, I remember being completely floored when I heard it decades later. That feeling still remains.
Andrew Weatherall b2b Ivan Smagghe, TBar, 17 May 2007
Weatherall could start in the unlikeliest places before ending up in twerked-out realms, via obligatory chug, without batting an eyelid. This set b2b with Ivan Smagghe at London club TBar is an example of his ability to tip-toe across styles. The set comes via Phonica’s Nick Williams, who shares that, “the Wrong Meeting night at TBar where he kept playing was great: first half of the set was rockabilly/garage, and the second half was electro! (!)” The juxtaposition of styles that he could somehow merge into sweet synchronicity was a signature Weatherall move.
Andrew Weatherall’s Screamadelica, 30 July 2011
Primal Scream’s Screamadelica is perhaps his most well-known production work, a record that traverses from indie and psych to acid house seamlessly. In this BBC6 show, Weatherall takes you through the music he was listening to at the time, inspirations that guided a maestro’s touch.
Andrew Weatherall, 2020Vision Presents 20 Years Of Back to Basics, Village Underground, London, 17 December 2011
Another beauty of a set via Nick Williams, this time for the 20th birthday of Back To Basics at Village Underground. Euphoria whirled deftly through marching drums – a rallying cry to the dance floor – before a descent into sublime acid, house and techno, or what Weatherall would likely call “oopmty-boompty” music.
Andrew Weather and Sean Johnston (A Love From Outer Space), Leftorium, Brussels, 15 December 2012
Joining forces with longtime collaborator Sean Johnston, A Love From Outer Space was born. “An oasis of slow in a world of increasing velocity… Never knowingly exceeding 122bpm.” What started as a DJ duo and club nights became a community, with like-minded souls filling events as well as a festival. Each party was the realisation of a life spent championing transcendence via the dance floor. This ALFOS space “slow-motion sleaze” set from 2012 is an embodiment of that feeling. “All you need is a kick drum, a bass drum and a high hat… you don’t need any of that other shit, it’s all just confusions.”
Andrew Weatherall Presents: Music’s Not For Everyone, 1 July 2014
His Music’s Not For Everyone Show on NTS gave an insight into the vast diversity of records he consumed, drawing connections between unlikliest of places along the way. In this inaugural show, opening with the spooky noir of Chain And The Gang’s show namesake, ‘Music’s Not For Everyone’, Weatherall soon eschewed these echoing realms for strung-out jazz funk, warped dub, hip-hop, garage rock, and noise chaos, to name but a few styles he delved into in for his first outing on the station. Over the course of over five years, Weatherall’s NTS shows followed similarly far-out suit, virtually no genre left unplayed, no record too weird or too unexpected to unveil, each show a window into sounds you may not hear him play on the dance floor. A man who championed letting your freak flag fly, no matter what shape it took.
Crack Mix 097, 17 July 2015
Another great example of Weatherall doing what he does best, mid-tempo chugs with a hedonistic post-punk flair, patient mixes with no need to give you rises and falls – just a relentless groove that persists into the deeper corners of the mind to make a totally entrancing mix. Heads down, eyes closed for an hour… this is music to get lost in. – Brad Gibbons
Phonica Mix Series 21: Andrew Weatherall’s ‘Phonic-A-Delic (A Trip Through The Back Wall)’, 3 February 2016
A longtime customer, as well as a dear friend, of Phonica Records, Weatherall delivered the 21st edition of the shop’s mix series. When asked to describe it, Weatherall simply replied: “It was lovingly prepared using vinyl and is designed to show that there is more to Phonica than that frightful “oompty-boompty” music.”
Dekmantel Festival, 2 August 2019
With the kind of presence that made you think he’d live forever, I always assumed there’d be another time to see Andrew Weatherall playing. An all-day session at Giant Steps in London last summer thankfully reminded me of his shaman-like powers. Just a few weeks later, amidst torrential downpours during the start of his Dekmantel 2019 main stage set in the Amsterdam Bos, Weatherall delivered a sonic seance. Exploring the off-kilter realms of synths, he subtly, and slowly, whipped the arena into a frenzy. Though moments of ecstasy are woven throughout, they are particularly affecting around the haunted loops of 1 hour six minutes and electro pep 2 hours 50 minutes in, where the magic of the build he’s created over 3 and a half hours unfolds.
“Francis Bacon said there’s something about the texture of paint on canvas that talks directly to the human soul,” Weatherall once extolled.
There’s something about a needle on a record that does exactly the same thing.”