On the 17th of February 2020 a pulmonary embolism robbed the world of Andrew Weatherall, one of alternative music’s greatest son’s. The Lord Sabre left behind a near faultless, groundbreaking and inspirational legacy of productions, remixes, collaborations and songs, all with that unique Weatherall sound. From the 1990’s onwards, unquestionably, Andrew Weatherall has been a key figure in shaping alternative music, especially electronic music.
A few decades on and many of Weatherall’s earlier productions, remixes and in particular his group with Jagz Cooner and Gary Burns, The Sabres Of Paradise, still regularly find their way onto my turntable and into my CD player. I was especially pleased to discover that the electronic composer Martin Jensen, AKA The Home Current, who called Weatherall “The Guv’nor” and said that Weatherall was “A cornerstone of my musical upbringing,” has composed an album, titled Endless Exile, saluting the great man.
Endless Exile is released as a download and limited edition cassette on the independent label, Woodford Halse. The cover art, by Mat Handley, of a silhouetted Sabre against the cosmos, captures the vibe perfectly. Jensen has constructed nine tracks themed around and honoring Weatherall’s early sound, particularly from the Sabre and Lone Swordsmen period. Think of the Jam J remix EP or the remix EP of Bomb The Base’s Dark Heart, when the space around the sound is as big as the electro dubby noise itself. The sort of sound heard coming from the dimly lit upstairs room or shadowy side room of early 90’s sweaty clubs, and you are in the right, happy place.
Endless Exile is full of metallic, echoey drums, kick drums and fat bass drums. There’s chopped, distorted guitar loops, simple fuzzed keys, stabbing, cropped electro horns and shuffling bass lines. There’s wyrd, ghostly synth pads, drone loops and hypnotic melodies. The album is well sequenced, building its artificial atmosphere from song to song.
The Home Currents mix and production isn’t as raw as Weatherall’s and the bass lines aren’t quite as dubbed out, but as tribute albums go it’s a rather special affair.
If you’re a fan of Andy Weatherall or a fan of The Home Current, then Endless Exile will not disappoint. If you are new to either and like your electronic music, slightly darker, left of centre and to have a groove that gets under your skin, then you really can’t go wrong with Endless Exile. It sounds great through the Bandcamp app. Superb on a decent pair of headphones and (I brought the cassette after my first listen) delightfully, nostalgically warm on tape.