Andrew Weatherall: The Bullet Catcher’s Apprentice

I was a huge fan of “From the Double Gone Chapel” by Two Lone Swordsmen with its filthy noir, reverb drowned distorted intensity. I loved the follow-up to Double Gone Chapel, the Big Silver Shining Motor of Sin EP, with its remix of their cover of Gun Club‘s “Sex Beat” and two new original tracks “Feast” and “Hollywood Shotguns”. They still reeked of unease and heavy reverb, but on that release pulled further in toward a clean and squelchy truer house sound. However, if you’ve heard either of the two Wrong Meeting releases by Two Lone Swordsmen, released this year on their own Rotters Golf Club label, you know that they’ve more or less committed to adapting their lurching, recorded in a culvert-pipe guitar electro sound to a live, Brit-rock bar-and-chart band format.

The to-date Two Lone Swordsmen sound, broken from with their new release, finds its continuation here, in Single Lone Swordsman Andrew Weatherall’s able DT’s-wracked knob-twitching fingers. It’s a further exploration of Bauhaus and Joy Division-pioneered gothic guitars and bass effected and plugged in to an enjoyably modulated version Giorgio Moroder’s four on the floor disco.

The obvious anchor track of The Bullet Catcher’s Apprentice is You Can’t Do Disco Without a Strat. It’s a great melding of Weatherall’s creaking, growling, echo-chambered menacing vocals, and his ability to layer sounds to create a true and truly fat synthetic disco track. The track is a nod to “From Here to Eternity”era breakthrough Moroder tracks like “Lost Angeles” and “First-Hand Experience in Second-Hand Love”, down to his use of spectrum-smearing harmonica vocoders and disco queen-sweet songbird choruses. It’s a nod to a master that makes itself more than equal to the task. More than that, the synthetic discotheque bassline he reverts to for the chorus walks nearly imperceptibly, fooling the expectations by not being a simple, automatic arpeggio, but one that dips and evolves at complicated intervals, deepening the feeling of depth in each of the tone-freaky patches and rhythms he relies on.

And let’s talk about that, shall we? Weatherall’s production JUMPS, not only because it is well compressed, is comprised of clean, undiminished signals, but also because the man knows how to put sounds together to bang out a bass drum that’s a hot chimera of real audio samples and recordings and low-end trunk rumbling bass computer Detroit-grandchild sequencer action. His basslines are heavily layered, giving a pleasing beefy depth, a depth that’s modulated, reverbed, effected at different layers at different time, never with one layer stepping on the spectrum of another. He has a mendicant’s devotion to sound, the know-how to make his ideas a reality, and a real talent for making dance music that somehow excludes the prick club-going, don’t-listen-to-the-music-anyway set. This isn’t bleeding edge, it’s compound fracture, bone poking through the skin, marrow spilling-edge.

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