Sabresonic album cover

The Sabres of Paradise

Warp Records

This was the sound of Andrew Weatherall making the first of the sharp left turns away from the spotlight and towards the shadows that would characterise and sustain his remarkable career. By 1993 he could have followed acid house contemporaries like Carl Cox and Paul Oakenfold into the global DJ mega league — but instead he chose to duck down underground, embracing minimalist techno and his most gothic impulses, remixing obscure world music records as much as or more than the big indie bands of the time, signing to WARP, and making this album. With studio partners Jagz Kooner and Gary Burns he crafted a digital haunted house, full of horror movie chime melodies, deep dub bass, percussion that skitters and runs down your spine, and general gothic atmospheres. From the quivering 15 minute centrepiece “Clock Factory” to the chase-through-the-night techno of “Still Fighting” and “Inter-Lergen-Ten-Ko” it switches up and down energy levels, but keeps that shadowy, fearful aesthetic consistent throughout. It’s by no means inaccessible mind — after all, the bonus “Beatless Mix” of “Smokebelch II” would become a huge and endlessly compiled chill out classic — and it signalled Weatherall as having a career way deeper and longer than just being remixer du jour. But it still sounds gloriously dark and odd even now.

Joe Muggs

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