Andrew Weatherall – Qualia

The new album from Andrew Weatherall has an experimental feel to it meaning this long player perhaps isn't for everyone

Album Review by Donald Shields | 26 Sep 2017
Album title: Qualia
Artist: Andrew Weatherall
Label: Hola Nord Rekords
Release date: 29 Sep

Andrew Weatherall is a name synonymous with electronic music. His achievements are vast, varied and unsurprising considering he's been in the game for a few decades now. Arguably the forefather of IDM and a linchpin for genres such as electronica, dub, techno, post-punk and balearic among others.

His latest offering, Qualia, conjures images and feelings realised by Weatherall while ensconced in the musings of famous writers Jean Patrick Modiano and David Keenan. Modiano is known for writing about “the pull of the past, the threat of disappearance, the blurring of moral boundaries”. These themes, extrapolated into Weatherall’s work, are evident throughout the album.

A punchy live drum in the vain of LCD Soundsystem is prevalent through most of the tracks which plays well with the spaced-out electronica. It gives the tracks a certain danceability but in contrast with the spacey synths can make for a more introverted listening experience. Darktown Figures has a deliciously chunky off-kilter guitar riff at around the 2.20 min mark but unfortunately these moments are interspersed with weird out-of-place synths, keys and riffs that have the obscure fairground feel of watching a freak show while having a bad trip on acid.

Between Stations is the record's most well-rounded track; it has a ghostly Aphex Twin feel, an intricate tapping hi-hat and with dark synths, it gains a gloomier ambience. Think Chemical Brothers' Star Guitar, but instead of a train journey you're floating through deep space, in an orb, with Carl Jung as your co-pilot giving you regular epiphanies with his mind-blowing insights.

Weatherall is known for bucking trends, forging his own path in electronic music and this album undoubtedly has an experimental, narcotic-tinged feel meaning Qualia will not be for everyone. An album for the heads.

Listen to: Soft Estates, Between Stations