Letter #84


How’s things? Hope you’re good. I’m away with work this week, so I’m currently writing this above what looks like Greenland, on my way to New York for the best part of two weeks. The year started with a blast, and it’s only gotten blastier as it’s gone on, which suits me well 🙂.

One of the interesting things about having a lot of projects and pitches on is that I slip into a reflective mood more frequently. I think through a combination of reading lots about different types of people and businesses, alongside my regular reading, and then writing for work a lot (some strategists work best in PowerPoint, I work best in Word). Anyway, this reflective mood has seeped its way into this week’s mixtape. There’s lots of beautifully odd pop, low slung jazz, UK rap, warped electronica, thrashy guitars, and haunting classical.

This week the mixtape won’t be for everyone. In fact, maybe it’ll only be for a few of you. I make no apologies though, as the music I’ve included deserves your attention. There is more singing. More rapping. More weird noises. More noise. Give it a go.

PS After what feels like months with no rambling notes, I have finally written some! It’s long, but it’s kind of the cumulation my life’s work written down 😂

PPS I think the next letter will be a guest – a great one, keep your eyes peeled

PPPS For the love of Buddha will you please share this bloody newsletter with some of your friends – it makes my heart tick a little bit faster, and that’s a good thing (I think). Go share it, now. PLEASE ❤️.

🌪 TL;DR Section 🌪
  1. In dreadful news, Red Bull Music Academy is being shut down. Lots of interesting articles about this, but this from Ed Gillett for tQ had some interesting thoughts around the complexities of brands investing in culture. FWIW, and I’m obviously biased, I think there’s an increasing (not decreasing) opportunity for brands to become benefactors of culture – but it takes a certain type of brand, and committed clients to really make it work
  2. Have a look at David Bowie’s personal reading list – some classics, some obscure, probably all brilliant
  3. I’m really enjoying Mafalda’s recent set from Spiritland
  4. To promote his excellent contribution to the LateNightTales series, there’s a short documentary on Floating Points that’s lovely
  5. Kamasi Washington is launching a new short film and going off on tour with Herbie!
  6. Get yourself down to Phonica’s Record Store Day party tomorrow, it never disappoints. I’ll be trying to squeeze in a visit to Mixtape Shop in Crown Heights
  7. This Kev Beadle mix is epic
  8. Classic Football Shirts and Mundial have launched an exhibition in Manchester celebrating 95 years of Umbro football shirts – I’m not really a football fan these days, but I loved it as a kid and this was some powerful nostalgia
  9. If you’ve managed to see the Dorethea Tanning exhibition at the Tate, then this feature in The Economist’s 1843 Magazine might be of interest
  10. There’s a new documentary on Aretha Franklin coming that sounds great
  11. I loved this letter from Alain de Botton to children on why we should read
  12. Finally, Interview has a collection of brilliant 90s fashion artefacts that will either inspire you or give you a nostalgia twinge
 📚 The notes 📚
I feel like I haven’t written anything of real substance for ages, so this week I’m going to share something which has been rumbling around my head in various forms for nearly a decade. When I was at school, sociology was looked down upon. As if it was a nothing subject. I had such a strong interest in it, but was persuaded away from it by some of my teachers. I wish I hadn’t been, as I think I’ve spent the last decade trying to trace my way through it without a guide, and I genuinely believe that understanding theories of popular culture and the sociology behind them helps us to create things of value where value didn’t exist before. Be that art, music, literature, or any cultural artefact (including advertising – which is closer to home for me personally). I’ve shared some of my thinking around this, but it’s still very much a work in progress, so please forgive any logic gaps or circular arguments 🙂.

One of my long held beliefs is that the culture(s) that we are part of help form our sense of identity. We have an innate desire for affiliation with other people, and that affiliation often comes from the cultures which we belong to (or wish to belong to). Broadly referred to as cultural identity, this would traditionally be viewed as our nationality, religion, class, or ethnicity. There are certain attributes of those types of culture that bond us with other people that share the same attributes. Working class culture. Black culture. British culture. We see these terms all the time, and they are broad brush strokes that help us to define ourselves, and how we relate to the rest of the world. For those that are part of those cultures, it provides a sense of identity beyond ourselves as individuals, while also shaping our individual behaviours too.

At a top level, each culture is usually centred around sharing five elements;

  • Core values (the personal values that we hold that help us make decisions)
  • Belief system (the principles that sit at the core of the culture)
  • Social norms (the implicit rules that govern behaviour)
  • Specific symbols (physical manifestations or concepts that convey meaning and values)
  • Language (the way in which we express ourselves and the customs we use)

These five elements are just as applicable to cultures around fashion, music, sports, and arts in general, as they are to religion, race, and nationality. Whether it’s the Hells Angels, the dutch Gabba scene, or street wear, we can see each of these five elements at play just as much as we see with more traditional cultural identities.

I don’t think that all five of these elements have to be shared, but I think stronger (or more developed) cultures tend to have most of the elements in place, and largely shared by those in the culture. What’s important is that these five elements can (and mostly do) evolve over time. The steps can be small or more radical, but I believe that as new ideas / innovations are introduced, the culture (as a group) respond and the ideas are taken on, or not. This is how we see the blues leading to jazz, how indie became Britpop which became indie again, and how the whole haute couture fashion industry moves forwards too.

Where I think this is interesting is how the speed of the evolution of a culture shapes the cultural identity of people that belong to it. Some cultures are more established and evolve at a much slower velocity, they adopt fewer new ideas or innovations because they’re often more insulated than more emerging cultures that have greater velocity. The example that always springs to mind (as it’s deeply personal) is the difference between the culture within a small mining town in the Midlands, versus the constantly evolving cultures that exist London (and contribute to a broader more singular ‘London’ culture). Growing up, I found a disconnect between the local culture I was surrounded by, and the values and belief systems I held. Neither better or worse, I just held different views. They’d been formed through music and books, and the disconnect grew into a desire to find other people (and a culture) that I shared those values and beliefs with. Through magazines, books, music, forums, new friends, and travel, I began to find more of a sense of where I felt I belonged.

Like most teenagers, I hopped between lots of different cultures and subcultures, in an attempt to find out more about myself. I found my way through being exposed to lots of new ideas and cultures, in a very similar to the way in which I think cultures change through exposure. This idea of new ideas taking hold in individuals as well as within cultures is something I’ve written about here before, and the book Hit Makers introduced me to a new theory of how new ideas become popular within the cultures; they have to have the right balance of familiarity and surprise. Too much familiarity and they’re boring or unnecessary, too much surprise and they’re too radical to incorporate into the culture as it stands.

I think that this is intrinsically connected to exposure. Put simply, the more ideas that you’re exposed to, the more those new ideas will feel familiar. So the difference between those on the edges of culture (and subcultures) and those in the mainstream of cultures is volume of exposure – the clearest examples of this are in fashion and music. So the more exposed someone is, the greater likelihood that something fits the balance of familiar and surprising, because they’ve been exposed to more, so more is familiar (if you follow me).

For people that want to create things, this means the key is all about exposure. This ties into the biological theory of the adjacent possible too (which I’ve written about here before). The same principles apply to creating too – if you want your idea to be adopted, it has to be the right balance of familiar and surprising to the people or culture you’re trying to introduce it too. Raymond Loewy called this “MAYA (most advanced, yet acceptable).

Pre-1950, the main critical view of culture was that for something to be a work of art, it had to be scarce. Exposure was limited by scarcity and physical location. A sculpture. A play. A painting. A dress. Cultural artefacts weren’t supposed to be seen by the masses or mass reproduced, as the belief was that that removed their artistry and commercialised them. (I think this was the first instance of ‘I saw that band when they were tiny’.) This kept creativity away from the masses, and created a type of caste system to who was creative.

Post-1950 mass production changed this almost entirely, and flipped that theory on its head. All of a sudden cultural artefacts could be produced at scale, whether it was film, music, or fashion. People had greater access, and the roots of the counter cultural revolution of the 1960s came from this. A sudden increase in choice lead to an explosion of cultures, and subcultures, as more people could take mass produced cultural artefacts and use them to demonstrate an affiliation to emerging cultures. Incidentally, this development was the driving force behind consumerism – meaning that culture and commerce have been intrinsically connected ever since.

Fast forward to the turn of the millennium, and technology and digital media accelerated the democratisation of culture beyond all expectations. All of a sudden the physical and location-related boundaries of cultures were removed. We didn’t need to visit Berlin to understand the multitude of techno subcultures, we could speak to people within those cultures online. Forums and websites radically changed our levels of exposure to new ideas and different cultures, and the enormous growth in the volume of ideas we could be exposed to in turn drove more ideas to be created. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram only served to accelerate this even further, and the very network effects that made those platforms enormous, also facilitated huge growth in emergent cultures and subcultures.

Interestingly, I think this also uncovered another insight into how cultures grow; there is a threshold that exists within a culture whereby once it becomes too big, it begins to splinter into multiple subcultures. As the number of people in a culture grow, the core of the five elements that unite a culture become open to broader interpretation. This threshold has always existed in cultures (the different schools of religions such as Buddhism are a good example of this), but I think technology rapidly accelerated this.

Where the threshold exists will most likely differ (although you could suggest that Dunbar’s Number might be a good starting point), but the splintering of a singular and cohesive culture into multiple subcultures is a persistent behaviour. The effect of this is also often seen in splintered subcultures becoming more extreme too – the rise of the far right in the UK is a good example. I’d also suggest that over time these subcultures have an impact on the broader culture that they exist within too – as those within the subculture present new ideas (that are MAYA), the five elements enable greater adoption across the culture as a whole (for example, the far right are an extreme version of conservatism, but many of the values, beliefs, norms, symbols and language are consistent – creating an environment where new, more extreme, ideas are more easily adopted).

The ebb and flow, and division and reunification of these cultures changes over time, based on the members of the culture – they decide (explicitly or implicitly) the direction of evolution. As mentioned above, the velocity of the culture is largely dependent on exposure to new ideas, and technology has increased the volume of exposure by a significant factor. This makes many of the cultures and subcultures with high velocity unstable, and prone to huge shifts in a short amount of time.

I think this is important to understand because each of these splintered fragmented cultures have an impact on overall popular culture. They all ladder back to an amorphous mainstream culture, which is shaped by numerous cultures and subcultures that exist, which in turn are driven by new ideas being created at the edges, by those that are most exposed and understand how to frame ideas in a way that makes them feel most advanced, yet acceptable.

So if we want to understand how popular culture works, it’s no longer as simple as looking to our own cultures and a few other established cultures as a way of explaining popular culture. Fragmentation means we have thousands of cultures and they’re constantly in flux, changing the dynamics of popular culture in ways in which we can’t always see or identify. We need to understand the edges, the creators of new ideas, and the way in which they frame them to make them most advanced, yet acceptable. Only then can we trace where the changes in popular culture have come from, and only then can we predict where it might be heading.

Ultimately, the better that we can understand different cultures and subcultures, the better we can understand each other. In turn, that empathy drives greater cohesion and inclusivity, which in turn leads to more exposure to new ideas, and that leads to the creation of better art and ideas. If you want to live a more creative life, and create things that matter, then get exposed. After all, isn’t life about creating things that mean something, where meaning didn’t exist before?

📃 The tracklist 📃
  1. Kelsey Lu – Blood
  2. Okay Kaya – Believe
  3. Elsa Hewitt – The Edge
  4. Ronin Arkestra – Stranger Searching
  5. Outlaw Posse – Selina
  6. Truby Trio – Carajillo (Jazzanova remix)
  7. Black Midi – Crow’s Perch
  8. Ty Segall – The Crawler
  9. Wu-Lu – Seven
  10. Shafiq Husayn – Between Us 2
  11. Slowthai – Gorgeous
  12. Dolenz – Pull (dBridge’s Push Me remix)
  13. Farai – This Is England
  14. Pan Amsterdam – Mobile
  15. Billie Eilish – Bury A Friend
  16. How To Dress Well – Hunger (DJ Nigga Fox remix)
  17. Mr. Oizo – Nuque
  18. Nadia Tehran – Jet
  19. Kedr Livanskiy – Kiska
  20. Ben LaMar Gay – A Saida
  21. Odete – Folklore Collage
  22. Sikka Rymes – Love Di People
  23. Sonia Calico – Donmen Market
  24. Tierra Whack – Unemployed
  25. P Money – Shook
  26. Scott Walker – Bouncer See Bouncer…
  27. Luke Abbott – Adjustment
  28. Midori Hirano – Beginning
  29. Will Burns – Afterwards
  30. Sky Ferreira – Downhill Lullaby
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See you on the dance floor.
Love Will Save the Day

Letter #83


It feels like ages since I last wrote to you. How are you? I hope you’re good.

As ever, there’s loads of brilliant music, and this week I’ve chosen most of the songs on the tape from music I’ve bought on record over the last two weeks. What I love about putting this together each week is having the opportunity to play / get you to play music in a way that puts two songs together that wouldn’t usually be anywhere near each other. Paul Simon and Francis Bebey. Cosey Fanni Tutti and Lorn. The warped traditional Iranian music of Maral next to David Hanke.

Hopefully it works ❤️

This week’s mixtape is for playing as the sun is going down. It starts with funk, soul, and disco, and takes it from there. Have yourself a little dance. It’s good for you.

🌪 TL;DR Section 🌪
  1. This Buzz Bissinger essay in GQ is absolutely exceptional. It’s about addiction (to clothes), finding a sense of self, and culture. Stick with it, it’s worth it.
  3. The latest RA podcast is with Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy, so it’s almost certainly going to be brilliant.
  4. I’m reading a few books at the moment, but one that I’m really, really enjoying is Zen Mind, Beginners Mind. It’s much better than it sounds.
  5. Bang Face has gone overground.
  6. For those that are at the weirder end of record collecting – a collection of records made on x-ray film are all up for grabs. They feature exclusive and unreleased work from the likes of Massive Attack, Pussy Riot, Chomsky, and the brilliant Magid (the Mayor of Sheffield).
  7. This piece in Port on Diane Arbus’ early work is good – and there’s an exhibition of her work at the Hayward until May.
  8. I’m about halfway through this RBMA piece on Walter Gibbons – and it’s excellent so far.
  9. This piece on Jake Phelps (long time editor of Thrasher), who sadly passed away recently, is a great read.
  10. Dancing makes you happy. Science says so #1. On top of that, music has incredible therapeutic powers too. Science says so #2.
  11. A dear friend James told me yesterday that Dali was responsible for the Chupa Chups logo. And it’s true, and now I don’t know what to think.
📃 The tracklist 📃
  1. Skull Snaps – All of a Sudden
  2. Loose Change – Straight from the Heart
  3. Giovanni Damico – Italians in a Line
  4. Quantic – Atlantic Oscillations
  5. Gladys Knight & The Pips – Bourgie’, Bourgie’
  6. Fresh Band – Come Back Lover
  7. Mekongo President – Angona Mana
  8. Me and My Friends – You Read My Mind
  9. Paul Simon – I Know What I Know
  10. Francis Bebey – The Coffee Cola Song
  11. Axel Boman – Not So Much
  12. George Fitzgerald – Passing Trains (Kornel Kovacs & Matt Karmil remix)
  13. Atjazz – Overshadowed (Jullian Gomes perspective)
  14. Chaos in the CBD – Luxury Motivation
  15. Hidden Spheres – Words Can’t Explain
  16. Wayne Snow – Nothing Wrong (Byron the Aquarius live mix)
  17. Souleance – La La La
  18. HNNY – Frankfurt
  19. Project Pablo – Rent Day
  20. David Hanke – Impala Roundabout
  21. Maral – Ey Nazanin
  22. KOKOKO! – Azo Toke
  23. Off The Meds – Belter (Joy O Belly mix)
  24. Clara! – Acero
  25. Lorn – FORECAST
  26. Cosey Fanni Tutti – Tutti
  27. Flat Maze – Dick Dunker
  28. Ben LaMar Gay – O Desfile Da Madu
  29. Vanishing Twin – KRK (At Home In Strange Places)
  30. Duval Timothy – First Rain
💥 If you enjoy this letter, then please take a second to forward this email, or share this link with a recommendation on Facebook or Twitter 💥
See you on the dance floor.
Love Will Save the Day

Letter #82


I hope you’re good. I’m back from Finland. It was cold (-26c), it was beautiful (saw the aurora borealis), and it was brilliant (the work stuff). This week’s letter is a little sparse on notes, as I’ve been a bit busy (I hate saying I’m busy, but…). The last few weeks I’ve found so much brilliant new music; new jazz, new soul, and lots of interesting electronic music. The mixtape is bookended by The Prodigy, because I wanted to pay tribute, and share two of my favourite songs. RIP Keith, and please, if you feel alone, talk to someone.

I hope you enjoy the mixtape. I’ve got some exciting new guest letters coming soon, and I’ve asked a group of people who’ve been ardent supports of this project to help me start planning some bigger things too (more to come on that). If you’d like to get involved, let me know 🖤.

🌪 TL;DR Section 🌪
  1. Our very own Gabriel Szatan has written a wicked addition to RA’s Art of DJing series, this time celebrating the absolutely bonkers and brilliant Teki Latex
  2. The wonderful Sirin Kale has written a very personal piece on embracing being an introvert
  3. This massive feature from the NYTimes is doing the rounds – it’s a brilliant collection of thoughts on music that matters right now
  4. Who is Billie Eilish? I’ve included a few of her tracks here before, but it seems she’s definitely now nearly the next big thing. FADER has written a feature on Eilish that’s good.
  5. The Vinyl Factory has put together a list of the best appointment-only record shops (from dusty old lock ups to specialist stores). Worth adding these to the list.
  6. I’ve yet to play around with it, but Matt shared SpotifyEditor in his brilliant weekly newsletter, Web Curios. It’s a tool to help you edit Spotify playlists.
  7. I have such fond memories of hearing Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged album as a kid, and now Pitchfork have written a sort of ‘behind the scenes’ which I found fascinating
  8. On a Nirvana-related note, way back in the 90s Marc Jacobs caught loads of flack for badly appropriating the grunge aesthetic – looks like all that is kicking up again
  9. I’m halfway through Matt Everitt’s excellent book, The First Time, and I’ve just clocked that all of the playlists from each of the interviews are on Spotify – DIG IN!
  10. Finally, DJBooth has a really interesting piece on the school of hip-hop producers who release huge amounts of work (think Dilla, Madlib). This has sparked some thoughts…
🚀  E X C L U S I V E  🚀

One of our crew (Jenner) is throwing an excellent party at Oval Space in London on the 23rd, and it’s going to be great! The MANANA label is one of my favourites, and Ariwo will be playing a live set. Don’t miss it! Oh, and because Jenner is a total babe, he’s given us a special discount code to get 20% off the door (click here) ❤️

📃 The tracklist 📃
  1. Bjork – Venus as a Boy (Harpsichord version)
  2. Cleo Sol – One
  3. Simiah – Earth Tone
  4. Ronin Arkestra – Stranger Searching
  5. The Prodigy – 3 Kilos
  6. Ezra Collective – Chapter 7
  7. Nubiyan Twist – Permission
  8. The Comet Is Coming – Unity
  9. Jordan Rakei – Mind’s Eye
  10. Pinty – Sunday Smokes
  11. Prins Thomas – Feel the Love
  12. The Dynamics – For the Love of Money (7 Samurai Disco remix)
  13. Ed Longo – Love on the Line
  14. Jerry Paper – A Moment (Helado Negro remix)
  15. Folamour – I Only Remember You When I Sleep
  16. Helado Negro – We Will You
  17. George Fitzgerald – The Echo Forgets
  18. Lipelis – Bordeaux Lovin
  19. Obstacle – After Image
  20. Aleksi Perala – UK74R1408054
  21. Akira Ito – Praying for Mother / Earth, Pt 1
  22. BADBADNOTGOOD – In Your Eyes (Nosaj Thing remix)
  23. Young Paint – Travel Paint
  24. Hoover1 – Hoover1A
  25. Nasty Habits – Shadow Boxing
  26. The Prodigy – Breathe
  27. Marie Davidson – Lara (Daniel Avery remix)
  28. Tsuruda – Kicking Wolf
  29. Angel-Ho – Drama
  30. J Rick – Short
💥 If you enjoy this letter, then please take a second to forward this email, or share this link with a recommendation on Facebook or Twitter 💥
See you on the dance floor.
Love Will Save the Day

Letter #81


How’s things? Have you had a good week? I hope so.

Bangkok was great – super hot, good food, and loads of stuff to do with my little famcrew. From one extreme (38c) to another, I’m now in Finland (-16c) for the Initiative annual global conference (well, I will be by the time you’re reading this). Last year’s conference was incredible, and after the year we’ve had, I think this years will be even better. At the very least it’s given me permission to buy a full winter wardrobe that’s fully goth. I’m rambling, aren’t I? I’ll stop.

We were in Bangkok for Māgha Pūjā, and having a huge admiration for Buddhist principles and view of the world, we went to Wat Saket to see people paying their respects to the monks and giving alms. The temple is beautiful, and the whole experience was spine-tingling, and gave me the same intense spiritual feeling I’ve had with music before. It was emotional. Witnessing it has put me in quite a contemplative mood, and this is reflected in this week’s letter. It’s much more thoughtful, and it’s stark. There isn’t a lot of ‘soul’ music, but there’s plenty of music with a lot of soul. It’s more subtle, is what I’m getting at I suppose.

I’ve gone in a totally different direction to usual, but stick with it, there’s some beautiful music in it. It’s deep. It’s different. You might not like it. But I hope you do.

🌪 TL;DR Section 🌪
  1. Alzhemer’s and dementia can be utterly devastating, stealing memories, relationships, and lives – but new research suggests that they cannot steal memories of music
  2. Remember the song from the blood club scene in Blade? That tune with the killer acid line? It was ripped off more times than Happy Birthday. Read the background in this great piece on RBMA
  3. Luis Manuel Garcia has written an excellent (and important) history of sexuality in club culture for RA
  4. I’m so hyped for Joe Muggs upcoming book on the history of sound system culture – tQ has got a short write up here – and keep checking here for the pre-order
  5. I really enjoyed this post on the enduring legacy of Jimi Hendrix’ version of the American national anthem – it put the whole act in a new light for me too
  6. In sad news, the Ibiza institution (and founder of the hotel where Club Tropicana was shot) Tony Pike passed away this week – Bill Brewster has written a fitting obituary in Mixmag
  7. Shane Parrish (the man behind the Farnam Street newsletter) is in GQ, talking about how to properly digest books – rather than skim them and retain nothing. It’s worth a read, and his newsletter is good too (although sometimes a bit dense for me)
  8. Tom Ravenscroft stood in for Gilles P on 6Music last Saturday, and had Pete Buckenham on as a guest. Pete is the founder of my favourite record label, On The Corner, and the show is brilliant (with loads of exclusives too)
  9. Bandcamp has a great (and super accessible) guide to Afrofuturism, and some great tracks that point to the future too. Worth a read
  10. Finally, Mark Hollis very sadly passed away this week, and while there are many glowing obituaries and features, I found this collection of thoughts from different people who Hollis influenced by Laura Snapes most fitting
📃 The tracklist 📃
  1. Oso Leone – Gallery Love
  2. Saloli – Barcarolle
  3. Andrew Wasylyk – Adrift Below a Constellation
  4. El Kessler – Enter The Bristle Strum
  5. HNNY – Hemma
  6. The Tumbledryer Babies – I Think We Might Be Weirdos
  7. Massive Attack – Backward Sucking (Heat Miser)
  8. Crispy Ambulance – We Move Through the Plateau Phase
  9. Liquid Liquid – Optimo
  10. DNA – Blonde Redhead
  11. Joy Division – Dead Souls
  12. Efdemin – Oh, Lovely Appearance of Death
  13. Cro-Magnon – Wishuwerehere
  14. Bonobo – Ibrik
  15. Jesse Futerman – Vista
  16. Mark de Clive-Lowe – What It Is
  17. Pye Corner Audio – Hollow Earth
  18. Actress – Maze
  19. Slow Dive – In Mind (Reload remix)
  20. Taso – Aceite
  21. Grain – Untitled B2
  22. Akiko Kiyama – Sirsana
  23. Two Lone Swordsmen – Mr Paris’s Monsters
  24. Fever Ray – Wanna Sip (Olof Dreijer remix)
  25. Mouse on Mars – Sui Shop
  26. Daniel Avery – Under The Tallest Arch
  27. I Jahbar – Spy
  28. Dos Monos – Clean Ya Nerves (Cleopatra)
  29. KARYYN – -TILT
  30. Efdemin – At The Stranger’s House
💥 If you enjoy this letter, then please take a second to forward this email, or share this link with a recommendation on Facebook or Twitter 💥
See you on the dance floor.
Love Will Save the Day

Letter #80


How are you? I hope you’ve had a lovely week. As you read this, I’m in Bangkok getting some much needed rest and vitamin D – if you’ve got any recommendations, please let me know!

This week (well, last weekend to be specific), we hit a bit of a landmark. Now, I know the numbers don’t matter, and I shouldn’t really pay any attention to the number of people subscribing, and instead I should only really be thinking about making sure you’re all still enjoying what I send out, but but but… Last week we hit 1,000 subscribers. 1,036, to be precise. Along with some of the nice things you’ve said along the way, it’s a nice validation that I must be doing something right.  Anyway, I’m rambling. What I’m trying to say is thank you 😍.

This week’s mixtape covers a lot of ground. It starts off soothing, hits some hefty peaks, and then (hopefully) it’ll bring you back down in one piece. It’s one of the best I think I’ve put together in a while. There’s also some brilliant stuff to read in the TL;DR section.

Finally, if you’re new here, this is how it works.

🌪 TL;DR Section 🌪
  1. Gabriel Szatan (one of us) has written a great article for the Economist on CTM, and the importance of having an emerging, diverse, and truly global techno culture
  2. Tim Adams has interviewed the absolutely fascinating Amanda Feilding – New Scientist calls her the ‘queen of consciousness’ – for the Guardian on her lifelong campaign to legalise LSD for use in brain and mental health treatment
  3. This feature from a few years ago on Joni Mitchell is great – and from another one of us, this time Joe Muggs
  4. Oyinboy (Ian McQuaid, founder of Moves Recordingshas written an important article for Dummy on the impact that handing prison sentences to drill artists for the sole act of performing a song could have on culture at large. Scary times
  5. Elijah (Butterz co-founder) published a history lesson on grime with loads of links to early mixes that’s 100% worth listening back to
  6. Marvin Gaye is back
  7. really enjoyed this mix from esteemed DJ (and again, one of us) Darryl Butcher – covers a lot of ground, but has jazz at its core. Definitely worth a follow on Mixcloud too
  8. The University of Iowa has put together a digital archive of more than 30 Dada books and leaflets – although you’ll need to be up to scratch on your French and German for some of them…
  9. I really enjoyed (ok, maybe ‘enjoyed’ isn’t the right word, but you get me) this New Yorker biography of William Burroughs
  10. I liked this piece on early anti-video game propaganda – something to think of now, when we talk about the dangers of too much screen time
  11. Nancy Andreason (a neuroscientist and neuropsychiatrist at University of Iowa) has written a lengthy but incredibly interesting article on the connection between creative ‘genius’ and mental health issues – 100% worth your time. I promise
  12. This is maybe a bit niche, but this article in the Paris Review on the never-ending puzzle of Marcel Duchamp’s final work is great
📃 The tracklist 📃
  1. Aretha Franklin – One Step Ahead
  2. Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On
  3. Ben E. King – Street Tough
  4. Momie-O – Stop On By (Mr. Scruff edit)
  5. Eugene Tambourine – In The Good Life
  6. Chip Wickham – (Soul) Rebel 23 (Reginald Omas Mamode IV remix)
  7. Folamour – After Winter Must Come Spring
  8. The Main Ingredient – Happiness Is Just Around The Bend
  9. KC & The Sunshine Band – I Get Lifted
  10. Leon Haywood – Don’t Push It Don’t Force It
  11. Orgone – Easy Love
  12. Smith & Mudd – Nether (Bjorn Torske extended version)
  13. Fruit – If You Feel It, Say Yeah
  14. Edwin Birdsong – Cola Bottle Baby
  15. Donald Byrd – Love Has Come Around
  16. Crazy P – Walk Dance Talk Sing
  17. Tornado Wallace – Warp Odyssey
  18. Spiral Deluxe – The Paris Roulette
  19. DJ Nature – Everyone
  20. Haelos – Kyoto
  21. Leon Vynehall – Ducee’s Drawbar
  22. SJ Tequilla – Untitled 119_K2 (SW. remix)
  23. London Modular Alliance – Volatile State
  24. Demdike Stare – Sourcer
  25. Slikback – KYOKAI
  26. IVVVO – Forever Your Mouth
  27. These New Puritans – Inside The Rose
  28. Anchorsong – Majesty (Sandunes remix)
  29. Roberto Musci – Lullabies… Mother Sings… Father Plays…
  30. Andrew Wasylyk – Trough The Field Beyond The Trees Lies The Ocean
💥 If you enjoy this weekly letter, then please take a second to forward this email, or share this link with a recommendation on Facebook or Twitter 💥
See you on the dance floor.
Love Will Save the Day

Letter #79


I hope you’re well. The year has started with a bang at work – a couple of massive projects, pitches, a load of award entries, and yesterday we launched a report on what we think are the most interesting emerging cultures in the UK (give me a shout if you’d like a copy). January, you were a beaut 💙

Back to matters at hand; I think this every-second-week thing is going to take some to getting used to. This last two weeks I’ve gone through nearly 3,000 songs, and this week I accidentally shortlisted more than 450 for today’s letter. There’s a lot of good music.

This week’s mixtape has got classic hip-hop and modern soul, funk, old soul, classic Loft-era disco, thoughtful modern ‘dance’ music, some jazz (naturally) and some deeper stuff at the back. I’m definitely back 😊.

🌪 TL;DR Section 🌪
  1. There’s a good cover feature on Midland in Mixmag this month, where he talks very openly about his career, imposter syndrome, and learning to feel more comfortable in his own skin
  2. It was the 10th anniversary of Late of the Pier’s seminal Fantasy Black Channel album recently (ten years – makes me feel ancient) – this piece in Dazed reminds me why that album was such a belter
  3. Joe Muggs (one of us) posted about this woozy Andy Weatherall mix from 1993 (athough it’s not from the Hac). It’s always worth revisiting his RBMA lecture too.
  4. Talking of Weatherall, Boy’s Own has published a few classic 1970s street style photos that are worth a look. Also, there’s a great feature on the story of Boy’s Own here.
  5. A good friend (thanks Matt T) send me a link to a brilliant New Yorker piece on William Basinski, as well as a link to his epic production Disintegration Loops
  6. RA is back with the latest instalment of its excellent series The Art of DJing, this time with Salon resident, Vladimir Ivkovic
  7. Finally, there’s some new stuff to go follow; @JazzILike on Insta, and Paul Ruffles, who’s putting together mini-mixtapes every week (and has a guest letter coming up here too).
📚 The notes 📚

I’m reading loads at the moment, and those books are having a major impact on the mixtape. I’ve started rereading Love Saves the Day (for the third time), and I’m just about to finish Der Klang Der Familie too (it’s about the birth of techno in Berlin). Both excellent books.

Over December, I read Please Kill Me (a brilliant oral history of punk in its broadest sense), and I also read Playing Changes (it’s a mixed bag to be honest, but there’s a couple of great chapters). The ever-excellent Shivvy bought me Night Fever, which I’m really excited to start, and also the Ian Schrager book/photobook on Studio 54 too, which is beautiful. I go through peaks and troughs with reading, but I’ve started reading both physical and Kindle books (I was solely Kindle), and I think it’s made a big difference to how much I’m retaining from reading – which is something I’ve been thinking about a lot, especially after reading this piece on the impact of skim-reading on the Guardian.

📃 The tracklist 📃
  1. D’Angelo – Unshaken
  2. Little People (ft Rahel) – All The Wonders
  3. Erykah Badu (ft Roy Ayers) – Cleva
  4. August Greene – Black Kennedy
  5. Common (ft Macy Gray) – Geto Heaven Part Two
  6. Triptik – Entrak 1
  7. Waters – Trying Hard To Look Inside
  8. Chocolate Milk – Actions Speaks Louder Than Words
  9. Doris – You Never Come Closer
  10. Billy Byrd – Lost In The Crowd
  11. Gloria Ann Taylor – How Can You Say It
  12. Donny Hathaway – Memory Of Our Love
  13. Harold Melvin – The Love I Lost
  14. Voices of East Harlem – Cashing In
  15. Joe Bataan – Aftershower Funk
  16. Rim Kwaku Obeng – Love Me For Real
  17. Double Exposure – Newsy Neighbors
  18. Fouk – Down Below
  19. Ivan Conti – Bacurau
  20. Dexter Wansel – Life On Mars
  21. The Comet Is Coming – Summon The Fire
  22. Baloji – Kongaulois
  23. Anatole – Medlow Bath
  24. Pantha Du Prince – The Splendour
  25. Weval – Gimme Some
  26. Sepalot – Rainbows (live)
  27. Daniel Avery – Projector
  28. Bjork – The Anchor Song (Black Dog mix)
  29. Angel Bat Dawid – We Are Starzz
  30. James Blake – Lullaby For My Insomniac
💥 If you enjoy this weekly letter (like I know you do), then please take a second to forward this email, or share this link with a short recommendation on Facebook or Twitter 💥
See you on the dance floor.
Love Will Save the Day

Letter #78


How are you? I’ve missed you! It’s a bit late, but I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Year! I had my first full two weeks off in more than a decade, and it was filled with family and relaxing, so it was brilliant. Despite having a month and a half to write the first letter back, I’m obviously writing this late into a Thursday evening. Some things never change.

However, while I might not have been writing this letter, I did spend some time thinking about this project. I’ve come up with what I think is a brilliant idea, and I’ve got some smaller changes I’m going to make. There’s a couple of technical things to sort out, but once they’re sorted, I’ll tell you all about my idea.

The smaller changes are much more straight forward. So, this newsletter will be moving to every other week. It’ll still be delivered at 11am, just every other Friday. I think moving it to every other week will up the quality. The second change is that I’m going to be less regimented over the format and content. Some weeks there will be notes, some weeks there will be interesting links. Some weeks there will be both, some weeks there will be neither. The only thing that’s definite is the music – the reason I started this thing in the first place.

This week’s mixtape is the cumulation of stuff I’ve bought over the last month or so, some new stuff, and some old stuff I remembered about. It’s vintage.

So, here’s to 2019, and more brilliant music, and as ever, if you’ve read to here, thanks for indulging me ♥️.

PS If you’re new here, then click here to see how this works, and click here for some old letters

📃 The tracklist 📃
  1. Valerie Simpson – Silly Wasn’t I
  2. The Family Circle – I Hope You Really Love Me
  3. Curtis Mayfield – Now You’re Gone
  4. Average White Band – Atlantic Avenue
  5. Keni Burke – Risin’ To The Top
  6. Fatback Band – I Found Lovin’
  7. Chaka Khan – Hello Happiness
  8. Sister Sledge – Pretty Baby
  9. Lamont Dozier – Going Back To My Roots
  10. Pasteur Lappe – Na Real Skele Fo Ya
  11. Evelyn “Champagne” King – Aquarius / Let The Sun Shine In
  12. Gwen McCrae – I Found A Love
  13. Isaac Hayes – I Ain’t Never
  14. In Flagranti – Different From The Rest
  15. Wajatta – Runnin’
  16. Neal Howard – To Be Or Not To Be
  17. Julien Dyne – Copernicus
  18. Everything Is Recorded – She Said
  19. Toro y Moi – Ordinary Pleasure
  20. Evans Pyramid – No I Won’t
  21. Bush Tetras – You Can’t Be Funky
  22. Mark Mitchell – How Can I?
  23. Mutant Beat Dance – Revival 80s
  24. Alan Johnson – Goron Sound
  25. Africaine 808 – Rhythm Is All You Can Dance (Wolf Muller remix)
  26. Planat Battagon – Salacians of Trans-Neptunia
  27. Carl Craig – The Melody (Ishmael Ensemble remix)
  28. Isolee – brazil.com
  29. Lindstrom & Christabelle – Lovesick (Four Tet remix)
  30. Solitary Dancer – La Donna
See you on the dance floor.
Love Will Save the Day

Letter #77


I hope you’re well. This is letter seventy seven, and it’s a bit different. I know I say that phrase quite often, but I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on this project, and many of you noticed that last week’s letter was a little different. Over the course of the last eighteen months, we’ve had some brilliant guests (thank you to every single one), some letters that I’m proud of, and to be frank, some letters where I’ve felt I’ve phoned it in a bit. Many of you have asked how I find the time to do this every single week; the truth is that I love writing this letter and sharing music with you, and I find time because of that reason.

I never started this project with any goal in mind, and if I’m honest, I never really expected anyone to read it. I thought that after the first wave of enthusiastic friends and family had gotten bored, I’d probably have just packed this in and considered it an interesting idea, but not much else. So I was as surprised as everyone else when people I didn’t know started to subscribe. Then when people that I massively admired from music and culture started joining, I had to pinch myself.

Right now there are 962 of you, and while you don’t all listen to every single letter, over the course of each month around 85% of you listen to at least two. A further 10% dip in and out, and I think about 5% never see the email because of spam filters. Over the last eighteen months around 80 people have joined us, and later unsubscribed (I know this letter isn’t for everyone). Amazingly, there is a hardcore of around 450 of you that listen to every single letter (and most of you within ten hours of it being sent out). This is (literally) a hundred times more people than I ever expected.

I can’t thank you enough for reading, listening, and sharing stuff. Without you, I wouldn’t have continued.

Before you / some of you / my dad start to think this project is finished, it absolutely isn’t, but I’ve decided to take a break for December. I never thought this would go beyond ten letters, and now it has, I’d like to spend some time thinking about this properly. I want to think about if the format, content, frequency, and distribution of the letter, and mixtape content, structure, platform, and length are still the right thing to do.

I would love your thoughts on how this could develop and progress. I’d also love for you to share our project with your friends if you think it’s good, and if you think they’d like it. The more people we have, the more suggestions people send in, and the better the quality the letters are. It genuinely makes a massive difference, so please share.

Rest assured my obsessive compulsion for listening and buying records won’t stop (it never has), and so when this is back, it’ll hopefully be better than ever. I’ll be back on the 11th of January, and until then, as always…

If you’ve read to here, thanks for indulging me ♥️.

PS Between now and the 11th of January I will almost certainly be sending an interim letter that has a Christmas playlist – here, if you can’t wait – and a little message to say happy Christmas to you all 🎄.

PPS Oh go on then, here’s my favourite letter 🖤

📃 The tracklist 📃
  1. Rufus featuring Chaka Khan – Do You Love What You Feel
  2. Le Stim – A Tribute to Muhammad Ali (We Crown the King)
  3. Little Scotty – I Want to Dance
  4. Herbie Hancock – Go For It (special 12″ version)
  5. The Mike Theodore Orchestra – Cosmic Wind
  6. Slave – Baby Sinister
  7. Yarbrough & Peoples – Don’t Stop the Music
  8. Ron Trent – Boogie Down
  9. Detroit Swindle – High Life
  10. Franc Moody – Dopamine
  11. Crazy P – Open for Service
  12. Emmanuelle – L’uomo d’Affari
  13. Adrian Lux – Teenage Crime (Axel Boman dub)
  14. Deep Blue – Deep Blue (The Inner Part of Me)
  15. Yoshinori Hayashi – Palanquin Bearing Monkey
  16. Anchorsong – Ancestors
  17. The Invisible – Wings (Floating Points remix)
  18. Greentea Peng – Used To
  19. Throwing Snow – Linguis
  20. Bruce – Elo
  21. E-Talking – Telephone Rose
  22. Jensen Interceptor – Lean Before the Interview
  23. Deena Abdelwahed – Al Hobb Al Mouharreb
  24. Flying Lotus – Data Entry
  25. Earl Sweatshirt – Nowhere2Go
  26. Nazar – Airstrike
  27. Run the Jewels – Let’s Go (The Royal We)
  28. Radiohead – Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors
  29. TV On The Radio – Staring at the Sun
  30. Rival Consoles – Them Is Us
See you on the dance floor.
Love Will Save the Day

Letter #76

Good morning / afternoon / evening,

How’s things? You good? Good. If you’re reading this in America(s), happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone else has had a great week. I have, it’s been a blinder 😊. Huge thanks to Steven for last week’s guest letter, I think everyone enjoyed it just as much as me.

This week I’ve had a bit of a revelation, and the mixtape has been massively influenced by Anita Sarko. There’s a proper explanation in the notes below, but the short story is that Sarko was instrumental in shaping 80s New York (and arguably UK) culture, breaking new artists, and (in at least two cases) breaking new genres. She was at the nexus of art, music, and fashion in the late 70s and the 80s. Without Sarko, there would probably be no Beastie Boys, no Madonna, and no Basquiat. And those are just the ones that come to mind…

Anyway, this letter is dedicated to the enduring influence of one of the most underrated DJs of all time; Anita Sarko. There’s so much brilliant music on the mixtape that it feels a bit like a ‘best of’, but that was the power of Sarko, and after you’ve listened, I think you’ll forgive me. Enjoy ❤️

💥 If you enjoy this weekly letter (like I know you do), then please take a second to forward this email, or share this link with a short recommendation on Facebook or Twitter 💥
🌪 TL;DR section 🌪
Interesting things this week:
  1. Eccentric women, like Sarko, are fundamental to pushing culture forwards and fixing the ills of society
  2. Hannah Höch is my new favourite Dada artist
  3. Little Black Book has a brilliant feature on the mega talented female directors reshaping hip-hop videos (thanks BW for the tip)
  4. Keith Haring’s first ever proper UK exhibition is coming next year
  5. I love Georgia O’Keeffe’s explanation on why flowers were so important to her
  6. London has THREE new record shops
  7. My worlds collided so hard this week when I found out that Gil Scott-Heron was the voice over artist for the famed 90s You Know When You’ve Been Tango’d ad (thanks to Steven for the tip)
  8. On a similar note, here’s a compilation of all the ads that David Lynch has directed
  9. Huck has a brilliant photoessay on the UK reggae scene in the 70s
  10. And finally, yes, this is almost certainly going to be me in another 42 years – “garden shed DJ with audience of one gets big break after 44 years”
📚 The notes 📚

I finished Patti Smith’s M Train this week, and I highly recommend it. It’s quite hard to describe what it’s about, but broadly it’s part journal, part exploration of her creative process, and part autobiography. It is beautifully written, and I’ve not read a book that pulled me in quite as tight as this one did for a long time. It’s an incredibly thoughtful book, and it’s dense with ideas and thoughts that create sparks of new thoughts. One thing that struck me so heavily was Smith’s creative process. There’s no rush. No rush to create, and no rush to consume. There’s definitely moments of intense frustration at not being able to create, and she applies a craftsman’s approach (aka inspiration doesn’t ‘strike’ and what you create is perfect, instead perfection comes from whittling and working on something), but there’s no sense of being overloaded. She’s in charge, and she’s controlling her inputs and (to a certain extent) her outputs. There’s a sense of calm in everything she does.

I finished the final pages of M Train while I was on my way to work on Tuesday morning, and I’d become so consumed by the book, that once I’d finished it, I had a sudden panic; I’d forgotten my ritual of building a long list of music to listen to. Each week, I scour hundreds of different sources, and create an enormous playlist of music to listen over the week in order to find new music. As time has gone by, I’ve caught a rhythm, and each week I gather the last seven days worth of new music. It’s an intense system, but it works. Or at least, I thought it did until Tuesday morning. The panic rose, and almost immediately I clocked the sharp contrast with what I’d been reading and my own process. My system had become an overloaded habit. Worse still, it wasn’t just a habit with music, it had seeped into my behaviour with magazines, books, websites, newsletters, flyers – I wanted anything I could get my hands / eyes / ears on, because I thought the more I had, the more interesting stuff I could squeeze out. Like a juicer, the more oranges, the more juice. But my brain isn’t a juicer, and at some point the juicer gets overloaded and jammed.

I think this week was the week I realised I’d jammed my juicer.

I think I’ve inadvertently equated consuming quantity with producing quality, and forgotten that the value comes from the process of being able to properly consider what’s important and interesting. Not just skipping through five second snippets of more than 1,000 songs, and skim-reading the first and last paragraphs of 100+ articles. (I know, now I’m writing it down it sounds ridiculous.) I think I’d lost sight of why I started this thing in the first place – it was never to be a filter for everything that’s happened in every culture over the last seven days, it was to bring you a snapshot of what I thought was interesting and important that week. To share my process and music that I thought was brilliant.

I’d forgotten how to listen properly, and I’d forgotten how to go deep.

So I decided to make some changes. I went out and bought a new notebook, I gave away some magazines and kept only those that I knew had something interesting in, and I made a much smaller pile of books that I’d been wanting to read for ages. I forced myself to ignore my phone whenever I was in bed (before I slept, and when I woke up), and put off checking emails, feeds, and the like until I was in the office. In only three days I’ve finished two more books, written up all my Kindle notes by hand (the only way I remember anything is if I physically write it out) , read six in-depth magazine interviews, and created a mixtape that I think is one of the best I’ve done in ages. I forced myself to go deep. I remembered how to care again. Most importantly, I think, I broke this rancid cycle of ‘more more more’, click-bait-style behaviour that had become seemingly habitual. My intention was always to learn more about lots of different cultures and subcultures, using music as the guide for that exploration – I think I had accidentally become someone who used a tiny bit of skimmed information to ‘signal’ that I knew more than I really did. Culture signalling, basically.

If you’re signalling, then all you have is a tiny bit of knowledge. You’re stood in the middle, with everyone else, and you’re (basically) one step ahead of them because you’ve leaned a bit to the side. You’re not on the edges, and you’re not really exploring. You’re showing off. The excellent Paul Ruffles put an Insta story out this week with a quote from Kurt Vonnegut that cut me down in my stride, Vonnegut said; “I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can’t see from the centre”. You have to lean so far you might fall. Hopefully this week you’ll hear how the music guides you through a culture, and the links above in the TL:DR section are mostly connected to the subject too.

With this renewed focus, I’ve been reading the Beastie Boys book this week (please, I beg you, buy it now) after one of my all-time favourite people, Frank, suggested I give it a read. It’s about so much more than the Beastie’s – it covers the rise of late 70s New York as the cultural epicentre of the world – but about a quarter of the way through there’s an essay from Anita Sarko. It’s a brilliant first hand account of how the DJ came into contact and gave the Beastie’s a huge helping hand, and cements Sarko as a driving force behind everything good that came out of the 80s. I would argue that Sarko is probably one of the most underrated DJs in history; she was one of the first (if not the first) paid female DJs, she toured the world, and in New York she put Mudd Club and Danceteria(two of the most influential clubs in music history) on the map. She gave Madonna her first big break. She gave Basquiat a sofa to sleep on. And she created a space for LGTBQ+ cultures not just to be safe, but to thrive. I first came across Sarko in Tim Lawrence’s brilliant book Life and Death on a New York Dance Floor, where she’s given her rightful credit in the New York / London musical pantheon.

Rekindling my love of Sarko this week, I sat watching a short video interviewshe did a few years before she passed away, and I was hit smack between the eyes by something she said; “what’s interesting about now, and what’s so dangerous to the creative people in history, is that there’s so much information out there, that people can get lost in the cracks”. I hope we never lose people like Anita Sarko, because they are the totems of culture. In tribute, the music I’ve included on this week’s mixtape is almost entirely made up of songs Sarko would’ve played at Mudd and Danceteria, and where there’s new music, they’re songs that I think she’d have approved of.

All hail Anita Sarko ❤️

📃 The tracklist 📃
  1. Beastie Boys – Cooky Puss
  2. Run-DMC – It’s Like That
  3. Funky 4+1 – That’s The Joint
  4. The Sugarhill Gang – 8th Wonder
  5. Defunkt – Strangling Me With Your Love
  6. Funkadelic – Undisco Kidd
  7. Blondie – Rapture
  8. Tom Tom Club – Genius of Love
  9. Taana Gardner – Heartbeat
  10. Komiko – Feel Alright (extended disco version)
  11. Atmosfear – Invasion
  12. ESG – Moody
  13. A Certain Ratio – Lucinda
  14. Bush Tetras – Too Many Creeps
  15. James White and The Contortions – Contort Yourself
  16. The Lounge Lizards – Do The Wrong Thing
  17. The Slits – I Heard It Through The Grapevine
  18. Roisin Murphy – World’s Crazy
  19. Syncbeat – Music (Boris Dlugosch remix)
  20. The Human League – Don’t You Want Me (special extended dance mix)
  21. New Order – Blue Monday
  22. Eric Copeland – Mateo
  23. Beastie Boys – Drinkin’ Wine
  24. Joy Division – She’s Lost Control
  25. DNA – Blonde Redhead
  26. X-Ray Spex – Germ Free Adolescents
  27. Television – Venus
  28. Strawberry Alarm Clock – Incense And Peppermints
  29. Laurie Anderson – O Superman
  30. Skeeter Davis – The End Of The World
As always, if you’ve read to here, thanks for indulging me ❤️.

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

Letter #75

Good morning / afternoon / evening,

I hope you’ve had a great week. There’s quite a few new people this week, so if you’ve got no idea what’s going on, click here for an explanation as to how this works.

This week hasn’t gone as expected. There is loads of brilliant music out this week, and I’ve got a long list in excess of about 200 tracks, and as I was starting to filter through it all, an email dropped into the Love Will Save the Day inbox, from Steven Doherty. I met Steven more than a decade ago, when he was working at Discovery Channel (he was one of my first agency clients!). I was pretty sure at the time he thought I was annoying. I’m not sure his views have particularly changed, but we bonded over a shared love of music and we’ve stayed in touch ever since. He was very literally one of the first people to sign up, and I asked him to write a guest letter last year.

It was worth the wait. Having had a sneaky listen yesterday, I can hand on heart say it’s one of the most complete mixtapes I’ve ever listened to. The tracks are well considered and balanced, there’s a great mix of the familiar and the unexpected, and there’s a huge variety of different genres. What I’ve found most fascinating is that while there’s so much variation, the mixtape has a certain tone to it. I think you’ll see / hear what I mean.

The letter is also brilliant, with loads of interesting thoughts and links, and he’s even covered off the first five TL:DR links this week too!

You’re going to love it ❤️

💥 If you enjoy this weekly letter (like I know you do), then please take a second to forward this email, or share this link with a short recommendation on Facebook or Twitter 💥
🌪 TL;DR section 🌪
Interesting things this week:
  1. Watch this short film celebrating 25 years of the Wu-Tang Clan’s 36 Chambers
  2. Listen to this great interview with DJ Sprinkles on RA
  3. Watch New York, the film on Bill Cunningham (and get the story behind that French workman’s jacket everyone wears) – trailer here
  4. It’s just a scam to take away the land from the Barbudans so they can give it to people like Robert de Niro”
  5. The original James Murphy.
  6. I really enjoyed this interview with David Byrne
  7. Lydia Lunch had lunch with Anthony Bourdain.
  8. Bleep has opened a record shop in Dalston (well, a pop up shop until the end of the year)
  9. The Quietus’ Bakers Dozen feature stars Cypress Hill’s DJ Muggs – it’s great
  10. Finally, you’ve probably seen this already, but this metal band scammed a world tour.
📚 The notes 📚

I met Jed in the late 00’s. He was about seven years old. At the time he spoke of his searches for vinyl from a far-off time he’d heard village elders call the ‘nineties’. He approached his quest for grungy britpops with an energy and passion like no normal human. Now, ten years later, aged 14 ½, Jed puts the same energy into a ridiculously good, generous, and comprehensive weekly newsletter. Thank you, Jed, and thanks for letting me join in this week.

To make this mix, I just played records all weekend, picked them in as arbitrary a manner as I could. Then I looked for them on Spotify and put them in an order. It’s funny hearing it back on Spotify as some – like Marcos Valle, or the Staple Singers, for example – are maybe too compressed, or not particularly well mixed for streaming. Check them on vinyl, or even CD, if you can.

Joyce Heath kicks things off with a track I’m sort of obsessed with from the Sky Girl compilation. I find it inescapable. Lynne Ramsay had it on the soundtrack of her last film, and I really liked hearing her on the radio this year – if you can find a repeat of this anywhere, check it out.

I’m a massive, completist fan of Colleen. The track selected is from her latest album, but calls back to her early music box work I reckon. Here’s a nice videoof her current live set up (heart the chart!) and a link to a great mix she did a couple of years ago.

The Naum Gabo edit is an enduring favourite, and a record I was kindly given in a meeting at work. It turned out an account director I was working with ran the record label that was about to put it out, and we had talked about a club I used to go to where Jonny Wilkes (half of Naum Gabo) DJ’d at. The remix is by the real talent behind DFA. Thanks for the record, Simon, it’s still being hammered ten years later.

Mission Control is from a perfect mix CD I bought back in from ‘Y2K’ (when Jed was born). I now have the vinyl pack too. It’s all timeless stuff. Buy the CD. I’ll refund you if you don’t like it *Boris Johnson pinkie promise*.

Skipping ahead (a lot), it turns out that the Staple Singers cover of Talking Heads was more of a collaboration than a cover, it seems. I bought this about 15 years ago, expecting something like the Curtom Staple Singers. I hadn’t read the credits, and obviously it was nothing like it. I fluked an all time banger, and you should definitely buy the 12″.

The penultimate track is buy a wholly unique act from DRC. The groove is unlike anything else I have in my collection, and a friend of mine made a belter of an edit of it – pitched high with a squelch added in!  He runs another generous and interesting blog. Download the free EP!

Last up is Sylvester. It’s the instrumental I have and love – but the vocal version available on Spotify is great too. Here’s the original demo as a treat – another brilliant Dark Entries release. If you get into this track, you might want to check treatments by Eli Escobar, Pyschemagik, Smagghe & Cross. But I know what you’ll go back to everytime…

Anyway, thanks for listening. And thanks Jed for the comprehensive and generous effort every week. Futures.

📃 The tracklist 📃
  1. Joyce Heath – I Wouldn’t Dream of It
  2. Julia Holter – Whether
  3. Ninos Indigo – Luna
  4. Colleen – November
  5. Bing & Ruth – TWTGA
  6. Marcos Valle – Democustico
  7. Damon – Don’t You Feel Me
  8. Edan – Promised Land
  9. Maya – Distant Visions
  10. David West – Dream on Dreamer
  11. High Places – On Giving Up
  12. Material – Ciquri
  13. Ruth – Polaroid / Roman / Photo
  14. Isolee – My Hi-Matic
  15. Naum Gabo – Pictur (The Loving Hand remix)
  16. Omar S – Seen Was Set
  17. Dukwa – Thoughts
  18. Adesse Versions – That’s What Friends are For
  19. Mission Control – Outta Limits (Shelter remix)
  20. Lee Gamble – Kali Wave
  21. LA Vampires – Supercool
  22. John Talabot – Families
  23. Steve Summers – Lucid Fingers
  24. LNRDCROY – I Met You on BC Ferries
  25. Move D – Eastman
  26. Manicured Noise – Metronome (Cousin Cole remix 5-2)
  27. The Staple Singers – Slippery People
  28. Solange – Losing You
  29. Mbongwana Star – Malukayi
  30. Sylvester – I Need Somebody to Love Tonight
As always, if you’ve read to here, thanks for indulging me ❤️.

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