Back in the day.....god how I hate that phrase. A long time ago (jeez, 22 years!!) I went to see the film 'Shopping' at The Broadway Cinema in Nottingham. Whilst the film had a somewhat questionable appeal (Aside from that of Sadie Frost; which at the time had little to do with her acting ability) the soundtrack was fantastic. Stereo MC's. Orbital, The Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy and EMF were among the contributors. I bought the CD on the strength of the soundtrack. Heading up the roll call of other acts on the soundtrack was Sabres Of Paradise. This was my first introduction to the work of Andrew Weatherall. 'Theme', a tune you may not realise you know (But in all likelihood do) and possibly the most enduring thing about 'Shopping', has been on various playlists of mine ever since.
Whilst Andy/Andrew Weatherall had been already notably credited for some of his production, remix (New Order/Happy Mondays/Primal Scream) and DJ work it was initially his work with The Sabres Of Paradise trio that caught my ear. Weatherall's seemingly effortless ease at creating a blended electro soundscape of cinematic proportions fused with an edgy underground disdain was like hearing a punk ethos through a techno turntable.
Weatherall has continued to release, write, produce and remix music, including soundtracking various TV ad's, in many guises ever since. 'Convenanza' is Andy's first release proper since 2013's 'Ruled By Passion, Destroyed By Lust', as part of The Asphodells, and his first solo album since 2009.
Andy's latest album, 'Convenanza', has been co-written by electro empress Nina Walsh, herself a previous Primal Scream collaborator, and long time associate of Weatherall's. The resultant nine track album is as you might expect; drenched in diverse influence but not drowned in water logged pomposity. This is not an album of light throw aways and flimsy fashion it is a considered venture back into a world of shadows, undercurrents and unease. A world of dark corridors, half lit alcoves and a fraught tension only diffused by the hypnosis of the music.
'Frankfurt Advise', the albums opener (After a brief intro), is an enduring, looping and joyously mesmeric masterpiece. It's like Weatherall has almost referenced his earlier work and manipulated it via a funked up, dub infused worm hole and brought it back to life in 2016 with a fabulous horn section and a bubbling bass line. 'The Confidence Man' is hewn from a similar cloth but with a more tripped out vibe permeating the laid back beat and relaxed vocal. The semi-industrial percussion back drops the see-sawing synth notes perfectly as the intoxicating chants unfold.
High hats help highlight the score to 'The Last Walk' before flowing through onto the funky fusion of guitars and keys that take over on 'Kicking The River'. The more spaced out sci-fi, Love & Rockets like, sound of 'Disappear' sets us up for another album high point in the form of 'We Count The Stars'. As with its precursor there is a swathe of Gothic darkness that pervades the horn adorned arrangement. You can almost picture Terry Hall doing a guest vocal hear, whilst Sisters Of Mercy look menacing in the background as Weatherall mixes it all up into a nocturnal downbeat dub club close out. 'Thirteenth Night' and 'Ghosts Again!' wrap up the album but unfortunately not quite with the same assurance or presence as many of the previous tracks.
'Convenanza' is undoubtedly a welcome return by one of the more consistently ground breaking and influential DJ/Producers of recent years and within it there are some real gems; 'Frankfurt Advise' a must hear track. Weatherall is always worth and worthy of a listen and his latest album is no exception, albeit not exceptional throughout.
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