Letter #45

Good morning / afternoon / evening,

I hope you’re having a brilliant and sunkissed week. I make no apologies for the first song on the mixtape this week. If the sun is going to come out, I’m going to play Mungo Jerry. It should be law, really. This week’s mixtape is filled with funk, jazzy hip-hop, great pop music, African boogie, disco, classic house music, some heavy tracks, and some blissed out ambient bits to close. This week’s mixtape has shot into my top five. I think you’re going to love it  ❤️.

🌪 TL;DR section 🌪
Stuff to do: listen to anything on The Lot Radio; read about Nicki Minaj’s return(one of her new tracks is on the tape); watch the trailer for the upcoming Alexander McQueen documentary; buy the new edition of Love Injection; mess about with 16,000 sounds FX samples from the BBC; learn why music has been slowly getting louder over the last two decades; and watch a series of animations from the BBC on different philosophers and their ideas.

Thank you: this week I’m recording a new podcast, and massive thank you to everyone who sent in thoughts and feedback last week, it was mega helpful 😊.

PLAY
📚 The notes 📚

Now, before I get into this week’s rambling notes, I have a confession. I have a new obsession. Well, I say new, it’s been for a month or so now, but I’ve only just decided to come clean. Jimothy Lacoste. I first heard about him through a friend sending me a link to his video for Getting Busy, and then a few weeks ago I heard his single Future Bae (which is on this week’s mixtape). I don’t understand it, I don’t know if it’s a parody (there’s a connection to poundlandbandit), if it’s beautifully innocent, or something in between, but I don’t care. Future Bae is amazing. Follow him on Insta here.

Following on from Jimothy and his lo-fi production, there seems to be a slew of brilliant lo-fi pop music emerging at the moment (well, enough for Pigeons and Planes to call it a scene already). This doesn’t feel confined to pop and singer-songwriters though, and the volume of artists that are now self-releasing, and self-promoting music seems higher than it’s been for a while. To celebrate this, Rye Wax is throwing The Run Out again this year, at the Bussey Building in Peckham (tickets). It’s a mini-festival celebrating independent labels, and self-published music. It also provides respite for those looking to escape Record Store Day…

Why would you want to escape Record Store Day? And why would I be telling you to? I have a weird relationship with RSD. I haven’t taken part for years, and while I recognise that it’s most definitely a good thing for record stores, it feels a bit like an excuse for lots of labels to churn out either unnecessary ‘special editions’ (Aladdin Sane grey vinyl?), represses that get overly hyped but are under-pressed, or worse, it’s an opportunity for certain artists to co-opt the culture. Artists that wouldn’t usually have music out on vinyl, but want to be seen to be part of the culture and hype of RSD (such as, maybe Niall Horan?). Now, please don’t mistake this as me being a bit snobby – anyone that’s been here a while will no I have no issue with pop music – but RSD feels like it has become an opportunity for certain artists (and labels) to buy into the culture.

Maybe I’m being overly sensitive, and this is no bad thing (although Numeroagree with me). Maybe it’s a little more like the Vetements’ DHL t-shirt, and this is labels (and maybe artists) commenting on the insanity of record collecting. Maybe it doesn’t matter, and more artists pressing records means more revenue for artists. Maybe it will increase the volume of people listening to albums. Or maybe it’s co-opting culture, and it’s about hooking onto people desperate to buy into record collecting, but too nervous to do it anywhere but Sainsbury’s. Now I am being mean. I’ll stop.

In BRILLIANT news this week, Kendrick Lamar won a Pulitzer Prize for music! He’s not only the first hip-hop artist to win, but he’s the first non-classical or jazz musician to win, and it marks a huge achievement in the increasingly narrow gap between what people perceive as ‘high culture’ and ‘low culture’. A construct that I genuinely don’t believe exists, but for many it does, and this feels like another brick to close the gap. Another huge moment this week was Beyonce’s Coachella performance. Both artists have a brilliant ability to advance and evolve culture, broadening their work enough to make it accessible, but not too broad that it loses meaning. They’re what Rickey Vincent would call torchbearers of The Funk. More on The Funk next week, it’s a fascinating book, and it’s filling my head with ideas.

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

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

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