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Compilation of the Month: Andrew Weatherall ‘Heavenly Remixes 3 & 4’ [Heavenly Recordings]

Andrew Weatherall's remixes for Heavenly Recordings are spread across two glorious volumes, and demonstrate his magic touch for turning live bands into dancefloor gold

Such was Weatherall’s production influence on Primal Scream’s ‘Screamadelica’, their 1991 album that distilled the Balearic spirit of acid house, he’s indelibly linked to Creation Records. But it’s another UK indie giant, Heavenly, with whom he had the longest working relationship, as ‘Heavenly Remixes 3 - Andrew Weatherall volume 1’ and ‘Heavenly Remixes 4 - Andrew Weatherall volume 2’ unveil in extended remix glory.

Opening with the prophetic words, “These are dark days we’re living in...”, Volume one kicks off with Weatherall’s 1990 take on Sly & Lovechild’s ‘The World According to Sly & Lovechild’. A pivotal track in the nascent prog scene, it unfurls hypnotically over eight-plus minutes of spacey, dubbed out instrumentation around Elliott E’lan Sly’s vocal, an incantation to dancefloor abandon. It set not only Weatherall’s role as a cultural barometer, but also his magic touch for turning live bands into dancefloor gold.

Whether it’s re-rubbing Flowered Up’s epic ‘92 classic ‘Weekender’ (check the original music video if you haven’t seen it before), transforming it into a hedonistic 17-minute trip that journeys through drummy house to loved up, chuggy breakbeat delirium, or extending BBC Radio 6Music staple Gweno’s ‘Chwyldro’ into a dubby haze of kick-drum driven psyche, the 16 tracks on offer here give a panned out look at Weatherall’s grand vision.

There are bonafide classics present here. His weed-infused take on St Etienne’s ‘Only Love Will Break Your Heart’ is a zenith of the huge influence of dub, its baleful lead melody and deep bass carrying it for five minutes until Sarah Cracknell’s voice joins the unmistakable piano riff. His remix of Espiritu’s ‘Conquistador’ as part of The Sabres Of Paradise, a collaboration with Jagz Kooner and Gary Burns, meanwhile, is an early-’90s melodic peak-timer, all rolling percussion and airy uplift. And Two Lone Swordsmen, his collaboration with Keith Tenniswood (aka Radioactive Man), flex their electro might on another St Etienne track, ‘Heart Failed (In The Back Of The Taxi)’, wobbling bass adding menace to glacial pads.

It’s the more recent, lesser known remixes, however, that show how he kept tirelessly carving his own groove. Australian four-piece Confidence Man’s ‘Bubblegum’ ends up somewhere between angular punk-funk and 2007 electroclash taut guitar, electric detuned bass and acid breathing a dancefloor strut into the original. ‘Dance Your Life Away’ by Audiobooks gets a similar shot of vitality; low end tightened, groove engaged, vibe alive. Youthful UK band The Orielles have ‘Sugar Tastes Like Salt’ reconstituted into a riot of surf guitars and delaying yelps, over what appear to be Weatherall’s own bass playing. And Mark Lanegan Band’s ‘Beehive’ is filleted down to ghostly guitar and bass over tribal drums.

The result is a rich document of Weatherall’s relationship with Heavenly, building on his 1999 entry into their canonical ‘Live At The Heavenly Social’ mix series. But it’s also a testament to a giant of UK music. Despite covering a 30-year period, each mix simply sounds distinctly Weatherall. Existing in a timeless universe of his own, the lasting impression is of someone who knew exactly what they wanted to say from the very start.

Joe Roberts is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @corporealface