Letter #107

Hello, hi, hey,

How are you? I hope you’re good.

Now, the last letter caused quite a stir. Lots of you got in touch to say very kind things, which was lovely, and more than I could have ever dreamed of. As you know, I was pretty anxious putting those notes out, so thank you for being so kind. Lots of people shared and forwarded it on too, and so this week we’ve got about 300 new people – which was a lovely surprise.

If you’re new, let me explain (if you’re a regular you can skip this next paragraph and a half). I’m really glad you’ve joined us, and I hope you enjoy reading this and listening to the music as much as I love writing and sharing it. The letter breaks down into five sections; this bit, where I ramble and give people a little hint as to the contents of the letter and mixtape; the link to the mixtape (big red button below); a section called TL;DR which is filled with links to interesting stuff I thought you might like; then the next section sometimes contains an essay or notes on music and/or culture; and finally the tracklist. If you’d like more information, then here’s how it worksHere’s what you’ve missed so farAnd this is me.

I only have two pieces of advice 1) stick around for a few letters, as there’s usually a lot of variation (and we occasionally have great guest editors too), and 2) under no circumstances should you play the mixtape on shuffle! 🙃.

Now on with the show.

So, this week there are no rambling notes. Sorry, after last letter and my emotional outpouring, I’m spent (also I was away last week at our global conference, and this week has been pretty hectic with pitching). I’ve tried to make up for it with a relatively bumper TL;DR section, and I spent two entire nine hour flights compiling the mixtape.

I set myself a slightly weird challenge this week with the mixtape. Since November I’ve had a growing pile of records that I’ve not managed to get round to listening to properly. Stuff that I bought on the back of loving a specific track, but I hadn’t managed to give a full listen to the whole record. As an indication of how much great music has been coming out, I had more than 600 songs to go through. Which is both great and kind of embarrassing at the same time. Well, I’ve finally caught up, and this week’s mixtape is made up of the best songs from that pile. There’s lots of broken beat, new jazz, classic, new, and deep house, wonky techno, and bits of weird electronica. 30 absolute crackers, I think.

I’ve dug deep (and I’ve tried not to pick the lead tracks you might’ve heard already), so I hope you enjoy! 🖤

🌪 TL;DR Section 🌪
  1. The enduring power of the loop. Matt Unicomb tracks from Moroccan gnawa to William Basinski’s haunting The Disintegration Loops, tracing the sheer power of the loop to pull us into a trance. Must read.
  2. Kate Hutchinson’s (hi Kate!) excellent podcast, The Last Bohemians, is back for a second season!
  3. “We all found this combination comfortable because we could go from an uptown dinner party to a downtown loft party and fit in, while also being a bit different.” Isn’t that what we all want? God bless Warhol.
  4. Ying Ang has written a breathtaking short essay on motherhood for Huck.
  5. Geoff Travis is selling his records.
  6. The Picasso exhibition at the RA sounds sublime. It’s only on until April, so don’t sleep.
  7. Wondering what all the fuss is about when that lacquer factory burnt down? Here you go.
  8. Mica Levi, Vivienne Westwood, and Holly Blakey have put together a show which sounds absolutely  incredible. In this WePresent feature / review I found Blakey talking about trying to find her way and balance ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture really interesting; “My work is divisive. Some people love it, a lot of people hate it. But I’d rather it not be polite”. Sounds perfect.
  9. Cosey Fanni Tutti is writing a book on Delia Derbyshire and I can’t wait until 2022.
  10. ”Our roots were in the culture that was stopped by Hitler; the school of Bauhaus and German Expressionism.” I’ve only ever thought about Kraftwerk within the frame of their impact on electronic music culture – I’ve never really thought about them within the context of German culture – so this tQ book review of Uwe Schütte’s book, Kraftwerk: Future Music From Germany, was interesting. Added to my reading list 🙂
  11. This Huck feature on the burgeoning Manchester avant garde club culture feels like it has serious echoes of the 1980s NY no wave scene… Through social and political upheaval comes beautiful and important art…
  12. Since I first bought his bootleg of Purple Music, everything I’ve seen of Jame 3:26’s I’ve bought on sight – this interview with him from Stamp The Wax is great.
  13. I am very mildly and totally normally a bit obsessed with Moses Sumney.
  14. I had no idea Kanye had moved to Wyoming.
  15. Format wars and the future of DJing is a subject often best left to other people to argue about on Twitter, but I enjoyed this piece from Harold Heath for Attack – it pulls on a broader range of voices, and as such doesn’t tread the same old ground.
  16. More from tQ, this time it’s a review of Sega Bodega’s debut album. Steven Dodd (hi Doddsy!) and I were obsessed with Sega Bodega in the early 2010s (when we were kind of like proto-sad bois, but don’t worry, we’re not sad bois any more), and the new album and this review make sense of some of that old obsession…
  17. Anthony Joseph has put together a nice collection of soca records for The Vinyl Factory.
  18. I’ve definitely never said these words before, but I think I might read this book from M. C. Richards on pottery. It looks great, and this quote has set my brain on fire a bit; “The creative spirit creates with whatever materials are present. […] We are not craftsmen only during studio hours. Any more than a man is wise only in his library.”
  19. This is definitely off-topic, but it’s a very moving account of loss and finding solace in stoicism from Jamie Lombardi on Aeon. I’m still skeptical, but this was enough for me to revisit a school of thought I’ve previously sacked off.
  20. Finally, I haven’t watched this yet (busy week pitching), but this talk that Lord Tusk gave at the Tate recently on artistry and culture looks great.
📃 The tracklist  📃
  1. Kaidi Tatham – Unique
  2. Saul – No Fuss No Fight
  3. Ruby Rushton – Yardley Suite
  4. Yadava – Good Mourning
  5. Blacks & Blues – Don’t Know Why (Chant For Love)
  6. Horatio Luna – Give It Up
  7. Ferdinand – SP House
  8. Dego – Just Give It A Long Shot
  9. John Swing – G Jazz
  10. Hanna – Humboldt Park
  11. Byron The Aquarius – Universal Love
  12. DJ Kemit – Digital Love (remix)
  13. G. Markus – Dreemscape ’93
  14. Lou Rawls – You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine (Kenny Summit remix)
  15. Mike Dunn – Natural High
  16. Kerri Chandler – Something Deeper (DJ Seen Raw Dub edit)
  17. Laurent Garnier – Feelin’ Good
  18. Cherie Mathieson – Games We Play (Mark de Clive-Lowe remix)
  19. Manicured Noise – Metronome (Cousin Cole remix 5-2)
  20. Niko Maxen – Light Drizzle
  21. Pitto – Jazz Kids
  22. Tim Lassy – Dark Cyan
  23. John Roberts – Fluid
  24. Waajeed – Shango
  25. Yu Su – Watermelon Woman (Francis Inferno Orchestra’s remix)
  26. Laurence Guy – Drum Is A Woman
  27. Herbert – So Now…
  28. Hugo Mari – Kokiri Forest
  29. Felipe Gordon – For Those Who Enjoy Being Alone
  30. Laurence Guy – Claudi
💥 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

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