Music | Bittles’ Magazine: The music column from the end of the world
Throughout its brief history the remix has been a vital part of dance music. It allows producers, DJs and engineers to re-interpret a song, add a phat beat and make it relevant for the dance floor. The art of a good remix is to re-interpret the original song and take it somewhere the band, singer, producer didn’t even know it could go. By JOHN BITTLES
Many an artist has built both a reputation and a career through remixing other peoples‘ work. From Tom Moulton, Larry Levan, Danny Krivit in the 70s and early 80s, Hardfloor, Sasha and Carl Craig in the 90s, to Ewan Pearson, Mark E, and DJ Sprinkles today.
Ever since his very first remix of Hallelujah in 1989 one name has stood head and shoulders above the rest . During a rich, varied career he has sculpted and improved tracks by the likes of The Horrors, The Orb, Manic Street Preachers, My Bloody Valentine, James, Björk, Primal Scream, New Order to name but a few. With over 100 remixes to his name Andrew Weatherall is one of the greatest exponents of this skill that you will ever hear.
Born in 1963 in Windsor he first came to prominence through the culture and acid house fanzine Boy’s Own, (which later started up its own record label Junior Boys Own). He was there for the birth of acid house, DJing at Danny Rampling’s Shoom, Paul Oakenfold’s Future/Spectrum, Nicky Holloway’s Trip, and many more. He has produced a string of classic singles and albums as Sabres of Paradise, Two Lone Swordsmen, The Asphodells, and under his own name. He is also responsible for a string of stellar club nights, including Bloodsugar and London’s A Love From Outer Space parties which he still runs and plays at to this day.
But it is the abundance of wonderful remixes created by Andrew Weatherall that we are here to talk about today. Since taking his first tentative steps in partnership with Paul Oakenfold for the Club Mix of Hallelujah by The Happy Mondays, he has taken to this particular art form like a hipster to beards. Some of his most celebrated re-interpretations include turning Only Love Will Break Your Heart by Saint Etienne into a funky trip hop beast, Come Home by indie hopefuls James into a joyous rush of acid house, and Primal Scream cast off I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have into the top 10 smash Loaded.
Because we were bored, and it simply had to be done, me, my cat, and assorted teddy bears formed a focus group one rainy morning to determine once and for all our 20 favourite remixes by Andrew Weatherall. Needless to say, with over 100 remix credits to his name this was somewhat of a task! At times the selection process descended into a seething mass of blood, sweat, stuffing and tears, and I am sad to report that not every friendship survived the ordeal.
Yet, we got there in the end! And what you find before you is our cherry-picked selection of wonderful remixes crafted by Mr. Weatherall’s hand. We have acid house classics, echo laden dubscapes, sublime slo-mo house, furious post-punk funk, and many more aural treats.
Percy X vs Bloodsugar – -3.
Like a dub apocalypse, this is one of those songs which sends shivers rushing up and down my spine each and every time I hear it. Aurally thrilling, and unbelievably deep, it will always sound ahead of its time. Gently building from a lonely distress beacon, the beats enter the fray one minute in, followed closely by some ominous bass to create a fucked-up version of dub, which, in all the best possible ways, messes with your head. Released on techno mainstay Soma Records in 1995, this is unbelievably strange, but may well be the funkiest thing to grace your day.
Primal Scream – Jailbird (Weatherall Dub Chapter 3).
Proof, if it ever were needed, that you really can polish a turd, this refit saw Andrew Weatherall drag Primal Scream out of their Rolling Stones fixation and into a paranoid world which still managed to sound as beautiful as a smile. Wonderfully hazy and unsteady on its feet, this should be used to show would-be drug addicts everywhere that you don’t need to ingest illegal substances in order to feel gloriously stoned. The moment when the synth line comes in towards the very end gets me every single time.
Emiliana Torrini -Speed Of Dark (Andrew Weatherall Remix).
A low-slung bass which recalls the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone, a mid-paced synth-line, and Emiliana’s bewitching voice are all it takes to form a stand-out piece of Balearic brilliance. With a lazy, can’t be bothered tempo, the song is stretched-out to the ten minutes mark to create a track which manages to appear darkly introspective and like a lost disco classic at the same time. Rarely has the Icelandic singer sounded better than in the moustachioed geniuses guiding hands.
One Dove – White Love (Weatherall’s Guitar Paradise Mix)
Having produced their one and only LP, Mr. Weatherall then went on to remake one of the album’s highlights into something even more heavenly than before. By adding echo and giving the song more room to breathe he allows Dot Allison’s breathy vocals to seduce like a gentle wave. With a gloriously sedate backing track which is the aural equivalent of stroking a soft and silky cat, this could calm a horde of irate Daily Mail readers who have mistaken you for an asylum seeker. Also be sure to check out his Weatherall Dub Chapter 3 Mix of the same song.
Mugwump – Until You’re Worth It (Andrew Weatherall Mix)
Released in February of this year, for this refit our hero creates something special by adding a deep and dirty mid-paced bassline to underpin the tune. Adding his own „Underneath the water.“ vocals, he manages to turn the original into a furiously funky slo-mo gem that you imagine would go down a storm at his A Love From Outer Space night. A must for house heads, disco divas, and funk fans of ill repute!
James vs The Sabres Of Paradise – Jam J.
Taken from the Brian Eno produced album Wah Wah, the team of Andrew Weatherall, Gary Burns and Jagz Kooner completely renovate the original and turn the song into an almost 35 minute long spectral groove. So druggy-sounding it should come with a health warning, this is all about the slow build. It may be Andrew’s mix of Come Home by the same band which everyone remembers, yet this is the one that space cadets, and sonic deviants everywhere really need to hear.
Atari Teenage Riot – J.One.M.One (Andrew Weatherall Remix).
For this remix he, wisely, steers clear of the Berlin-based band’s usual digital hardcore by injecting the song with a huge dollop of funk. Adding a glossy futuristic sheen that’s part Detroit techno, part Krautrock, and part something entirely of its own, this is dark disco deviance which simply commands your body to move. Reminiscent of a lost Vangelis classic, or something from a John Carpenter soundtrack, it is absolutely perfect for even the muggiest of dance floors.
Sneaker Pimps – 6 Underground (Two Lone Swordsmen Instrumental Mix).
Removing the vocals completely, the Two Lone Swordsmen of Andrew Weatherall and Keith Tenniswood turn the pop-style trip hop of the original into a dreamy, hip hop leaden masterpiece of downtempo soul. Sounding so cool that it is advisable to wear shades while listening to it, this is perfect after-party fare for when everyone simply wants to wind down.
Meat Beat Manifesto – Psyche-Out (Sex Skank Stripdown).
Sounding like In Dub era Renegade Soundwave, this classic remix moves both bass and groove right to the fore to create something dangerously funky for both feet and soul. Guaranteed not to call you back should you relent and give it head, the tune revels within a wall of downtempo sleaze. The soundtrack to a night in a sex dungeon, or a nocturnal trawl through the city’s seedy underbelly, rarely has the threat of danger and degradation sounded this good.
C.A.R. – Glock’d (The Asphodells Remix).
This reinterpretation saw Andrew Weatherall join forces with his newest partner in crime Timothy J. Fairplay to create a drug-infused blast of a track which chugs in all the right places (as well as in some that are downright wrong). Taking the original by Chloé Raunet’s solo alias and injecting it with a fucked-up disco stomp, this is the perfect accompaniment to the hedonistic decadence of the night. Reminiscent of some self-produced cassette from the early 80s, Glock’d contains more ideas in its ten minute running time than an anthology of philosophical thought.
Pablo – Stratus (Andrew Weatherall Remix).
A gorgeously surreal soundtrack where the spiky hip hop original is elongated to triple its length. Reminiscent of the classic Sabres Of Paradise production Wilmot when played at 33rpm instead of 45rpm, (trust me, you should try this.) it barely rises above 100bpm but somehow manages to sound more engaging and dramatic than the new Avengers Movie and Fast & Furious 7 combined. One for playing in a darkened room, or convincing that hip hop loving friends that dance music is the next stage.
Doves – Compulsion (Andrew Weatherall Remix).
Dark, dubby and spooky! The perfect soundtrack for when you are lost in the disco, someone’s slipped you a dodgy tab of acid, the people don’t look too friendly and you can’t find your friends, (but a lot more fun than this may sound!). Utilizing depth and space beautifully, Mr. Weatherall turns the driving indie of the original into a ten minute long epic of dancefloor drama that boogies at your side only because it’s waiting for the opportunity to dry-hump your leg. The spirit of post-punk for the 21st century!
And if that’s not enough to get you over-excited then here is eight more!
Finitribe – 101 (Intensity Mix).
The Grid – Floatation (Sonic Swing Mix).
That Petrol Emotion – Abandon (Boys Own Remix).
Alice Gold -Runaway Love (Andrew Weatherall Remix).
Timothy J. Fairplay – Sleighride/Blizzard (Andrew Weatherall Remix).
Björk – Come To Me (The Sabres Of Paradise Mix).
Happy Mondays – Hallelujah (Club Mix).
Sly & Lovechild – The World According To Sly & Lovechild (Andrew Weatherall Soul Of Europe Mix).