Two Lone Swordsmen’s Stay Down – 25 Years On

Weatherall & Tenniswood's Warp debut fuses ambient, electro and dub to conjure up an eerie underwater landscape...

Today we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the release of Two Lone Swordsmen’s astounding sophomore album, Stay Down, ranked #22 in Pitchfork’s 50 Best IDM Albums of All Time.

Formed in 1996 by Andrew Weatherall and Keith Tenniswood, just a year after the former disbanded the Sabres of Paradise (whose final release inspired the name of this page), the duo released a series of critically acclaimed EPs, including The Tenth Mission and Stockwell Steppas, and a debut album, The Fifth Mission (Return to Flightpath Estate), on Weatherall’s own Emissions Audio Output label, before signing to Warp Records in 1998, where they would remain for six years.

From the eerie and ghostly opener “Hope We Never Surface”, to the hauntingly beautiful closing track “As Worldly Pleasures Wave Goodbye”, Stay Down is a dense and atmospheric concept album, layering intricate textures of dub, electro, house and ambient, alongside the bubbly analogue structures for which Weatherall had become so well known during the Sabres era, and serving as a simulacrum of a murky underwater world, conjuring visions of deep-sea divers, mythical creatures and submerged cityscapes.

Given Weatherall’s prolificacy, it should come as no surprise that Two Lone Swordsmen released six studio albums, three compilations and dozens of EPs and singles, over an illustrious ten-year career, and even less of a surprise that the releases further consolidated his status as one of the 90s’ most exciting and visionary producers.

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