WOODLEIGH RESEARCH FACILITY
Phonox Nights (Facility 4/!K7)
Arriving like a bolt from the blue, and a welcome one at that, Phonox Nights is the last album Andrew Weatherall created with studio wiz and longtime collaborator Nina Walsh. The Woodleigh Research Facility project was created by the pair in 2015; this, the third WRF album, was being worked on right up until Weatherall’s untimely passing in 2020.
Phonox Nights takes its name from a Brixton club where Weatherall had a monthly residency and where tracks from this album were tested on a humungous, bass-heavy sound system. As a result, it sounds mighty menacing and powerful, like an atmospheric, jagged Sabres Of Paradise-meets-Detroit techno soundclash with Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry pushing the faders. Walsh’s Roland TB-303 work on the title track makes for an impressive start, before Infidelity Of Time does for the 2020s what Sabres’ Theme did for the 90s.
As a whole, Phonox Nights is a fitting, atmospheric soundtrack to dark city nights, badly lit streets and a lingering smell of ganja in the air, muffled bass from passing cars and distant police sirens relentlessly piercing a tense calmness. A thrilling aural ride in a style only Weatherall and Walsh could have mustered.
words DAVID NOBAKHT