Letter #23

Good morning / afternoon / evening everyone,

I hope you’re all well. Two things first; 1) hello to everyone that joined this week (we’ve had a lot of new people this week), and 2) big thanks to Chris for his epic guest slot last week ❤️ .

Now, on to this week… I AM BACK. Buckle up, it’s going to be quite a ride.

I can hand on heart say that this week’s playlist has been my favourite to compile. I hope you enjoy it just as much 😃 .

HERE IT IS!

– 🎼 –

The TL:DR section…

Some of the music this week comes from; Beastie Boys, Khruangbin, Jamie Woon, St Germain, Kaytranada, Roy Davis Jr., War, Rival Consoles, Burial, and Black Sabbath. Told you to buckle up 😃 .

Interesting things things for you to click this week; watch Ray, read about howmusic isn’t just about your ears, watch this brilliant documentary on Burial’sArchangel , listen to the guest series from one of my favourite record shops, and finally, have a listen to the new instalment of DJ Kicks! from Kerri Chandler

Enjoy!

– ✏️ –

This week I’ve split the notes into two sections. First up is how I put all of this together (quite a few people have emailed me recently asking, so thought I’d share). If you have no interest in that, the scroll past it, and below that is a bunch of interesting things that I’ve seen that have inspired this week’s playlist both directly and indirectly. 

Process
I’ll make a confession. Sometimes, it can be really, really hard putting together this letter. A few people have asked how I put it together (a few people have also asked why, but presumably if you’re here, you know why). I suppose it’s pretty simple how I put it together. Since I was a tiddler, I’ve always loved finding, playing, and sharing music. It doesn’t matter whether it’s digging through records that I’ve owned for fifteen years, falling down a YouTube rabbit hole, or hearing something in a shop. When I hear something new that I think is brilliant, all I want to do is share it with people who I think might also love it. In this case, that’s you lot. 

The process I go through each week is as follows. I pull together a long list of things that I’ve either found or remembered that week. I usually find stuff through playlists (Spotify, YouTube, Soundcloud etc), radio shows (NTS,Worldwide.fm, RBMA, Balamii, 6Music etc), digging through my old records as well as what I’ve bought that week from various shops (Love Vinyl, Sounds of the Universe, Reckless, Phonica, Juno etc), and magazines (Stamp The Wax,XLR8R, Dummy, Fader, Rolling Stone etc). Then I whack them all into a huge playlist (usually around 1,000 tracks), and start to put the absolute best of them in a draft playlist (usually around 200 tracks). Then I spend a few days finding a thread between them, and putting them into an order that I feel tells a story. Then I cull anything that either doesn’t tell the story the way I want to, or when on reflection and within the context of the other tracks, a certain track now sounds a bit rubbish.

This can be really hard. Not this week, though. This week has felt easy. 

I think there’s a better flow, and a more natural feel this week. I have absolutely no idea how or why, but it just feels different. See what you think, and let me know ❤️ . 

Inspiration
Over the past two weeks I’ve found loads of interesting stuff, some of which has made a direct contribution to the playlist, and some a slightly more abstract contribution. First things first, I’ve watched two films in the last few weeks (this is big news for me as I have both a short attention span, and a three year old daughter – films are hard work). The first was Ray. Wow. I thought it was amazing. I know a little about Ray Charles, but not loads. Having done some background research since watching the film, it feels like a pretty decent representation of his life. It’s excellent. For anyone with an interest in jazz, soul, the early days of the pop music industry, record labels, or Ray Charles for that matter, please watch it. 

Watching Ray was probably why the second film was such a disappointment. I watched Miles Ahead a few days later, and was enormously disappointed. Maybe it’s because I knew loads more about Miles, or maybe it was actually just rubbish. Now, I know that Miles wasn’t a particularly nice man. I get that. I also know that the film wasn’t supposed to be a proper biopic, and instead an insight into a specific time in his life, but still. Stick to the records and the books, on Miles, I’d say.

Resident Advisor (RA) published a great short documentary on the making of Burial’s Archangel, recently. Definitely worth a watch, as it covers so much more than just a standard making of. It looks at his production process, where he sources samples, and the some of the mythology around Burial as an artist. 

I’m reading an excellent book by Thomas Frank at the moment on the role of advertising and counterculture. The book is a bit heavy going, but if you’re a culture or advertising geek, give it a go (here). The reason I bring it up, is that there’s a quote from Plato(!) in it that I thought I’d share, as I instantly loved it, and it captures a lot of what I feel about the power of music and culture; “when the mode of the music changes, the walls of the city shake”. Or, as we’d say, Love Will Save the Day ♥️ .

One of my favourite music writers (Angus Finlayson) put together a great articleon the rise of ‘wellness’ in dance music. It’s a long piece, but worth your time. He creates a very clear delineation between those that are part of the fabric of dance music culture that are exploring it, and those that are on the edges seemingly trying to exploit it. It’s a delicate piece that sets the likes of Spiral Tribe, and Intrinsic on the side of those that are building upon the culture and introducing things for the benefit of those within the culture, against those that risk being seen as exploiting it.

On a similar tangent, the New York Times published a great piece on the power of silence and stillness. It goes far, far broader than music and sound, but it felt like something that you’d probably appreciate. It also reminded me of loads of ambient tracks too. Have a read here.

One final long read to share that I thought was brilliant. Aeon published a piece on how scientists have found that our experience of music is not just about what we hear. Sounds obvious, right? I thought the same, but the findings (and the experiments) were pretty mind blowing. Have a read here.

Clash has a good round up of some of the emerging players in the UK jazz scene (you’ve heard most of them here already, but it’s a good piece anyway). UK jazz is blowing up so much right now, and so it should – so much talent on the scene!

One of my favourite record shops (Love Vinyl, just off Kingsland Road) has started a guest mix series on MixCloud you should definitely check out (here). I’d also recommend subscribing to TwistedSoul and their weekly mixes too (here).

Rolling Stone has an interesting piece on the Roland 808 and pop music (here). Oh, and the Kerri Chandler DJ Kicks album is brilliant. Listen here

As always, if you’ve read to here, thanks for indulging me ♥️ .

– 📄 –
  1. 4Hero – Les Fleur
  2. Beastie Boys – I Don’t Know
  3. El Michels Affair – Tearz (45” mix)
  4. The Human Beinz – Nobody But Me
  5. Khruangbin – Maria También
  6. Julie Driscoll – Flesh Failures (Let The Sunshine In)
  7. Innersole Orchestra – People Make the World Go ‘Round
  8. Jamie Woon – Message
  9. Makaya McCraven – Above & Beyond
  10. Mr Jukes – Angels / Your Love
  11. Kendrick Scott Oracle – Cycling Through Reality
  12. Henry Wu – Boards and Skins
  13. Kenny Dorham – A Night in Tunisia
  14. St Germain – Rose Rouge
  15. Kaytranada – Leave Me Alone
  16. Roy Davis Jr. (ft Peven Everett) – Gabriel (Live Garage mix)
  17. War – Low Rider
  18. Roy Ayers – Love Will Bring Us Back Together Again
  19. O’Flynn – Aloha Ice Jam
  20. Addison Groove – Changa
  21. Cy Gorman (ft Sophia Davis) – Hati Hati
  22. Wayne Smith – Under Me Sleng Teng
  23. Zazou Bikaye – Lamuka
  24. Luke Abbott – Brazil
  25. Rival Consoles – Pre
  26. Lindstrom – Bungl (Like A Ghost)
  27. Leon Vynehall – Midnight on Rainbow Road (beat edit)
  28. Burial – Endorphin
  29. Black Sabbath – Planet Caravan
  30. Moses Sumney – Seeds

See you on the dance floor.
Love Will Save the Day

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