The dance music world reeled at the tragic news that veteran DJ and producer Andrew Weatherall had passed away last week with outpourings from nearly every notable selector from around the globe with unique and charming stories of blissful moments shared with the British artist.
… but with any passing comes a time to celebrate their lives and often, a reminder of their greatness, as such with the reveal of over 900 hours of Andrew Weatherall DJ mixes that have surfaced online.
The trove of goodness can be found on ‘The Weatherdrive’, a charmingly named Googe Drive doc that contains mixes that span nearly the entirety of Weatherall’s career all the way back to 1988 according to Mixmag.
From there it hops and skips decades of sweaty DJ sets with live recordings from parties around the UK as well as seminal bits and pieces including his highly regarded Fabric mix as well as his ‘Masterpiece’ mix for the Ministry of Sound series.
Just how good is this find? Well, meticulous details include tracklistings, cover art, unreleased tracks, press clippings and fan art – phwoar!
There is a lovely sign off from Martin Brannagan the owner of the drive who summerises his reasoning and passion for all things Weatherall;
My online journey began in 1994, fresh faced at Warwick Uni when I discovered that we could have our own websites! I set one up dedicated to a myriad of music I was into, one of which was the Sabres Of Paradise and Sabrettes label discographies, which I purloined from Cameron Bowden from the IDM mailing list. Through that a group of like-minded obsessives gathered who were all into all things Weatherall.
This was pre-Discogs, you had to hunt for things or know people to find news. We gleaned info off each other. People craved information so myself and a guy from Hawaii called Robert Feugate set up the Sabreweb, soon to become the Flightpath Estate for the discography of the Guv’nor and all associated acts and labels. Eventually we found a home at hyperreal, where we could set up a proper website and the newsletter became the Swordsmen discussion group. Amanda from Haywire was on it feeding us info, selling us the rush of mixtapes the Guv was putting out in those days.
Eventually the Flightpath website became surplus as Discogs rose, the Swordsmen group all grew up and real life got in the way a bit – it went a bit quiet in 2006. Jump Forward to 2008/2009/2010 and the rise of the blog – Acid Ted, Ripped In Glasgow and Bagging Area paved the way for continual analysis and sharing of Weatherall’s mixes and tracks and radio shows. When Moggieboy called time on Ripped In Glasgow in 2011 for a couple of years, I felt we didn’t have anywhere to carry on the discussions and sharing. So I set up the Flightpath Estate Facebook group in 2014 and we’ve grown to be a close knit community of Weatherall obsessives.
In the intervening years I’d spotted dubious activities of people selling Weatherall CD-Rs of publicly available but hard-to-find mixes and sets so I set about collecting as much as I could and ripping from my personal collection from years before and anything the Flightpath could offer up. Many hard, part-time years of sorting, splicing, comparing, renaming, verifying came to the realisation in 2019 that I’d never finish the job so I decided to share back to the community and release the Weatherdrive as it was. Some very generous people in the Flightpath group donated a bit of cash so I could get a suitably sized Google Drive. I uploaded everything that I was confident about sharing in August 2019 and here we are.
I constantly scour SoundCloud, Mixcloud and YouTube to try and make sure I don’t miss anything and take rips from the community. We’ve sat up at night ripping from live streams for things that won’t be available again afterwards (Groovetech radio, Lone Swordsmen live streams, Boiler Room sets). We’re now at the stage where the Weatherdrive has over 800 hundred files from 1988 (although that one has dubious provenance) to present day at over 85GB. If you sat and listened to everything it would take you over 900 hours.
The joy and thrill is that I know we’re still far from complete. Andrew was so prolific and his era spanned radio rips onto cassette to mixtapes and CDRs through to early internet streaming radio and present day where all radio is streamed and full soundboards are available days after the gig. The last week of grief, reflection, love, honour and reminiscing of Andrew in our corner of the internet has also lead to a glut of people digging out their old tapes and working out getting them online. I can see myself being extremely busy in the next few weeks and months, which obviously comes at a complete shock and numbness in the realisation that there will be no date stamped files after 20200217.
Our Guv’nor, The Chairman, Lord Sabre, Andrew Weatherall has left us. But what a legacy he has left us and I’m proud to have somehow become the internet archivist for such a great, great person but I couldn’t do any of it without the dedication and contributions of everyone on the cloud site and on the Flightpath and ALFOS groups who want to share the works, the joy and the experience of hearing the mastery of Andrew Weatherall.
If you’re not familiar with Andrew Weatherall, dive into this short doco on his life below.