This mix was inspired by several conversations, records, continuing recollections and reflections on the life and works of Andrew Weatherall, a few records he made and played, and a near-lifetime exploring dub in its many guises.
In a conversation about what constitutes proto-techno on Facebook, Fat Cat Records boss Alex Knight posted The Cure’s epic track ‘A Forest’. He was laughed out of the building by some but it got me thinking – particularly about the Seventeen Seconds album on which you can hear dub dynamics echoing through The Cure’s emerging post-punk pop songs.
Soon after, in the notes to his spellbinding dub mix in tribute to Weatherall, Graham Sherman wrote: “Andrew and I shared a love of all things reggae and dub, and music that was out on the borders of the dublands. Last year we sparked the idea of a one-off night encompassing all types of music that used dub techniques.”
Music “out on the border of the dublands”… that’s the music that was coming together in my head. It can equally be applied to The Cure, The Detroit Escalator Company (a recent discovery), Donato Dozzy and his dub techno bredrin, African Head Charge (which has been on constant rotation since the release of the Drumming is a Language boxset) or to the breakbeat science of the finest junglists. All of them owe some debt to King Tubby and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry.
That sound is in Two Lone Swordsmen’s “mix” of Ricardo Villalobos’s Dexter.
“‘Dexter’ is one of my favourite things I’ve done in the last few years,” said Weatherall, “‘cos it’s not actually a remix. We couldn’t get the parts from Ricardo, so it’s us doing a cover version, taking a slightly different angle on things, just kept playing the riffs over and over. I thought the bass line was pure Joy Division.”
Somebody else said the band walked into the studio and pretended to be Joy Division. I’ve always heard The Cure in that record but the two bands were not far apart. When The Cure released Faith they were accused of being Joy Division copyists. Later, they would be accused of being New Order copyists – why two bands that emerged at the same time with similar influences couldn’t sound similar without one of them being a “copyist” is beyond me…but I guess there were a lot of hardcore New Order/Joy Division fans among the music press back then.
After ‘Dexter’ we hear Donato Dozzy in this mix and then the trance rock (remixed) of Chilean psychedelic explorers Föllakzoid and the cutting edge techno of Objekt – I’m quite pleased that I managed to drop ‘The Forest’ in here but mixing it into something else required the mix to be split into Weatherall’s famous two parts.
More Swordsmen and some junglism before we drop down into African Head Charge, another Two Lone Swordsmen remix and some of the sweetest reggae you’ll hear.
I wanted to end this mix with Joy Division but it didn’t quite work once the junglism and reggae had replaced the deep techno that was originally going to fill the second half of the mix. In the end I plumped for The Specials’ ‘Ghost Town’ – one of my all-time favourite records.
I was just eight years of age when it topped the charts in 1981. I’d never bought a record. I occasionally recorded the charts off Radio 1 and onto tape on a Sunday afternoon. We moved down to Sussex from Scotland in the summer ‘Ghost Town’ was ruling the charts. I remember buying a copy of Smash Hits magazine for the journey down South, solely because it had the lyrics of ‘Ghost Town’ inside.
I didn’t understand the context of Thatcher’s Britain tearing apart the social fabric of the nation. I didn’t really understand why the youths were fighting on the dance floor or why the clubs (what clubs?) were being closed down. But there was something about that song… The melancholy mood? The bass line? The sirens? Dunno. But it still sounds good today and seemed a nice way of completing a mix of music from out on the borders of the dublands.
Rigning – Yagya
Faith – The Cure
Prana – The Detroit Escalator Company
Increased resistance – Gerry & The Holograms
Dexter (Two Lone Swordsmen remix) – Ricardo Villalobos
Menta – Donato Dozzy
III (DJ Nobu Remix) – Föllakzoid
Wildfire Dub – Objekt
A Forest – The Cure
Sex Beat (Remix) – Two Lone Swordsmen
Technology (Boymerang mix) – Ed Rush & Nico
The Rumble – DJ Nut Nut & Pure Science
Babylon (DJ Trace remix) – Splash
Off the Beaten Track – African Headcharge
Born With A Body And Fucked In The Head (Two Lone Swordsmen) – Transient Waves
Life is a Moment in Space – Wayne Smith
Set Me Free – L.Crosdale
Ghost Town – The Specials