Andrew Weatherall: Retrospective (current listening: Stay Down by Two Lone Swordsmen)

Stay down is probs my fave weatherall ‘thing’
Just an incredible lp that I have to listen to from start to finish.
To be honest that run from this including ‘a bag of blue sparks’ ‘virus with shoes’ and ‘tiny reminders’ is one of the best runs of releases there are. Maybe we’re only covering the lps here but those two eps are superb particularly’virus’

Also love despite the aquatic feel and vibe the title seems to come from innes of primal scream ‘sometimes in a fight it’s best to stay down’

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Alpha School is gorgeous. Love it when the blips and squelches usher in that lovely top line melody about a minute in to the track.

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Every time I play Stay Down, I put it on from the start and play it to the end, and usually play it again.
It’s really enjoyable and consistent, both in quality and mood. I can’t work out if it sounds aquatic or if that’s just the power of suggestion, but the opening pair of tracks Hope We Never Surface and Ink Cloud are full of murky, enveloping sounds, beats that sound like liquid moving through pipes and sparkly, twinkly sounds like light from the surface.

The album is lovingly sequenced. Just as the first two tracks go together, so do the next two and the two after that. The Big Clapper and Ivy and Lead both feature wistful strings that make me think of Jacques Cousteau. Gotta love the wobbly bassline and punchline on The Big Clapper. We Change the Frequency and No Red Stopping (my favourite) switch up the energy and are maybe the closest tracks here to previous TLS albums.

Spine Bubbles and Mr. Paris’s monsters also come as a pair, revisiting the murky wateriness of the opening tracks, complete with bubbling noises, bloops and maybe even dolphin sounds. By this point, I’m thinking that Stay Down is thematically as strong as BoC’s MHTRTC and I’m regretting that I stopped giving Warp my full attention in the late 90s… I was a massive Warp-head from AI onwards but although I carried on picked up Autechre and Aphex releases, I completely overlooked TLS, BoC or Broadcast for another 10 years or so, and they are all among my favourite artists.

Light the Last Flare, We Discordians and Alpha School are perhaps the most playful and twisted tracks on Stay Down, sounding a bit less aquatic to be fair, but As Worldly Pleasures Wave Goodbye submerges us again and we end the album floating away in the ocean.

It’s an 8 or 9 out of 10. I just love it when instrumental music is this evocative. It’s more Weatherall magic!

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