Balearic Mike’s Musical Diets / Remembering Mr. Weatherall On His 60th Birthday

Super selections & Wonderful words by Balearic Mike.

A few of my favourite records, and memories, of ‘The Guvnor’ to help celebrate this 60th birthday…

The Sabres Of Paradise – Wilmot II: Wilmot’s Last Skank – Warp Records 1994

Balearic Mike Wilmot

I still play this amazing record a lot. I played it on Saturday night in fact. It will be 30 years since its release next year, two days before my 54th birthday. It’s based on a sampled loop of a 1930’s track by legendary Trinidadian artist, Wilmoth Houdini, called Black But Sweet. Talk about ‘no stone unturned’. Mr. Weatherall managed to turn this track into a piece of Balearic-dub-hop! It has some amazing memories for me of my first trip to Ibiza, in the late summer of 1994.

We hadn’t been planning on going to Ibiza, until one night my girlfriend Alison and I were watching some late-night youth TV type program with a feature on Ibiza’s  clubs, and up popped our mate Graeme Fisher on the telly. Graeme had spent the entire summer on the island working as a resident DJ for Jose Padilla at some weekly club nights that Jose was running that summer at Pacha and Space. We knew that LuvDup were heading out there for gigs, Kelvin Andrews was playing Pacha, Justin Robertson was out there, and a whole host of other Mancunian reprobates were bound to follow. 

We managed to contact Graeme, and he offered to let us stay in the apartment near the Café Del Mar that Jose had put him up in, and he even arranged a gig for me at the newly opened Café Mambo. Fuck it! Records packed – we were off!

Our friend Sacha picked us up at the airport and drove us straight to Pacha, where Andy Weatherall and Kelvin were DJing. We had just missed the infamous occasion of Andrew being booted off the decks while performing one of his now legendary ‘Panel Beaters of Prague’ style sets, and Kelvin was now in the booth, and taking the roof off the place. I recall being completely smitten with Pacha – what a beautiful club. The place was crawling with Mancs! 

Next stop was Space, where Kelvin was due to play on the famous Terrace. We all kept popping out and across the road to a small bar next to a post office to buy cold pints of lager and avoid the incredible prices in Space. We made sure we’d supped up and were back in time for Kelvin’s set though, which was to be a short one. It was now Kelvin’s turn to get booted off the decks! Bizarrely the last track he got to play was the original mix of the Sabres Of Paradise’s Wilmot – it was just not handbag enough!

We waited for Graeme to finish playing inside Space and then all formed a convoy up to the villa Kelvin was staying in, which was right next door to the villa where Andrew Weatherall and Nina Walsh were staying. The party lasted all the remaining day and into the next if I recall, but I am sketchy on this. As I said, a huge contingent of Mancunians was out there, and I do remember Chef Kim cooking everyone a massive outdoor BBQ! Can’t say I had much of an appetite though.

The remainder of the week was mostly spent at the Café Del Mar listening to Phil Mison and Jose soundtrack the sunsets. That was where I met Phil for the first time – introducing myself with the immortal words, “nice sunset!

Andrew, Kelvin, and Justin all played sets at the Café Del Mar over the remaining nights we were there, and we all hung out late into the night drinking chocolate milk & brandy and having a generally most excellent time. Wilmot was properly rinsed all week – although mostly the original rather than the slightly more reggae inclined version, which is now my favourite mix of the track. Amazing times, amazing record. I’d say that this lovely little 10” single has aged much better than Ibiza, or me!

Wooden Shjips – Crossing (Andrew Weatherall Remix) – Thrill Jockey 2012

Balearic Mike Wooden Shjips

You know someone’s a bit special when they continue to produce exciting work over a not just years but decades. When this record hit the shops, it had been over 22 years since I began eagerly buying any record with an Andrew Weatherall remix on it. How many artists sustain that level of quality?

Wooden Shjips aren’t a band I would have ever bought a record by. They are obviously great at what they do, but it’s just not my thing. Weatherall’s remix of Crossing, however, is stunning. A mid-tempo slab of gothic disco music. A Joy Division bassline, with Drexciya style synth squiggles, over some ‘Panel Beaters Of Prague’ style drums, except the panel beaters have been on the smack, and are on a bit of a go-slow. Plus that haunting, ethereal, psychedelic vocal.

This remix was part of what you could quite rightly call a bit of a purple patch for Andrew. Later that same year he would release his “Masterpiece” mix CD on Ministry Of Sound, which is packed to the rafters with his then recent original music, and remixes, all of a similar stunning quality. The reworks of The Horrors and Nick Cave’s Grinderman are both highlights, which I love just as much as this. I must go and dig it out…

Not one of Andrew’s records, but a nice Weatherall-related memory of me playing this little 7”….

Sound Voyage – Golden Garuda / Super Molam – Free Soul Inc. 2015

Balearic Mike Super Molam

It was 2016, and the last year that Kelvin and I played one of our Down To The Sea And Back boat parties at the Electric Elephant Festival in Croatia. The boat party was generally the highlight of my year DJ-wise, and this would have been the 7th year in a row that we had played together.

We were at Barbarella’s the night before – our Boat Parties were always the Sunday afternoon slot – when Andrew and his partner, Lizzie Walker, came over to us and said, “We’re coming on your boat tomorrow.” This casual statement led to confusing feelings for Kelvin and me. The initial one was of course elation, happiness. Excellent! Andrew and Lizzie are coming to the boat party! Fantastic!… and then, “Oh shit! Andrew Weatherall is going to listen to us two Herbert’s pretend to know what we’re doing behind the decks for four hours! Best go home now and get some sleep. Fail we may, but sail we must!”

The next day it’s fair to say that Kelvin and I were a little more nervous than usual as we kicked things off. Andrew mentioned in passing that he was going to restrict himself to only asking what a record was a maximum of three times during the afternoon, because, in his words, “It’s nice to have a bit of mystery now and then.” I was quite chuffed though when just a couple of records into playing, Lizzie wandered over and said to me, “He wants to know what this one is?” I felt pretty excellent after that, and the nerves evaporated. It was the “Super Molam” side of this 7 that I was playing at the time, but both are rather jolly, and wonderfully weird. Later a most excellent team photo was taken as we celebrated the end of another exciting voyage on the Adriatic.

Balearic Mike Weatherall Boat Party Edit

Acid Pauli – Nana (Vinyl Version) – Pampa Records Vol.1 Compilation – Pampa Records 2016

My friend Matthew Krysko posted a beautiful video of Andrew DJing at The Warehouse Project in Manchester. It was only a short clip, but really moving. Andrew was behind the decks, eyes closed, swaying to the music, completely immersed in it. He was doing this cute little dance with his hands – almost like the air guitar equivalent of conducting an orchestra.

The track that Andrew was lost in was Acid Pauli’s Nana. It’s a completely spellbinding piece of music from producer Martin Gretschmann, and only available on this label comp. Kelvin introduced me to it. He was evangelical about the track. I recall a house party back at the Sherlocks where I swear, he played it twice back-to-back because the room was so locked in. It’s one of those magical pieces of music which defies all categorisation. It’s gentle and soothing, yet fierce and abrasive, all at the same time. It squelches, twitters, flutters, and swirls around you. It drips gently out of the speakers and yet thumps along. It has warm, enveloping, synths which wrap you in cotton wool, while, simultaneously, harsh, analogue riffs scratch at your body and dig their way under your skin, pulling your limbs around ecstatically. I saw that video and new exactly what Andrew was feeling.

Thanks for the music Andrew. Happy 60th birthday!

For more from Balearic Mike you can find him on both Facebook and Instagram – @balearicmike. 

Mike has a Mixcloud page packed with magnificent, magical, music, and you can catch him live on 1BTN, from 12 noon until 2 (UK time) every 1st and 3rd Friday.

Balearic Mike 1BTN blue

You can also check out the super silk screen prints of “Balearic Wife” over at @jo_lambert_print


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