Song of the Day: Andrew Weatherall “Unknown Plunderer”
Legendary UK DJ and producer Andrew Weatherall was well into the fourth decade of his storied career when he died suddenly (of a pulmonary embolism—a blood clot that reached his lungs) earlier this week at the age of 56.
Regardless of his physical health (Weatherall was an unrepentant drinker and smoker), the soon-to-be-released “Unknown Plunderer” is a clear indication that Weatherall was a man very much in control of his creative powers. “Plunderer” is seven minutes of psychedelic dub, beamed in from somewhere out in the cosmos. Staccato audio signals and whooshes are anchored to an impossibly deep bassline for a full minute until studio collaborator Andy Bell (Ride, Hurricane #1, Oasis, and Beady Eye) augments the sound with phased and flanged guitar peels before delivering a full-throated reggae-inspired rhythmic chug and even more rockist guitar clang. This kind of musical dot-connecting had been Weatherall’s stock-in-trade since the beginning and it sounds no less exciting and vital than it did 30 years ago.
Andrew Weatherall turns in two thudding, low slung tracks. Expect clattering effects, outer space bleeps, and hypnotic bass. Andy Bell returns to join Andrew in the studio, layering a haunting, tripped-out guitar line over the top. File under cosmic dub.
“Unknown Plunderer” is officially available on February 21st. While the limited edition 2-track vinyl—”sounds good on a turntable”—is justifiably sold out, digital downloads of “Unknown Plunderer” are still available via Byrds Out on Bandcamp. Though clearly not intended as such, “Unknown Plunderer” is a satisfying farewell from one of modern music’s true innovators. Here’s hoping we’ll hear more from these final sessions very soon.