We hope you’ve had a lovely week, wherever you are.
As usual, the letter is split into two parts. The first section is the link to the thing that you’re here for – the playlist. The second section is the thing that we’re here for – the rambling notes, links, and explanations on why certain tracks were chosen.
– 🎼 –
London has been tropical this week. This, combined with our increasing obsession with brass instruments (you’ll hear shortly), has definitely had an influence on this week’s playlist. We strive to arrange the playlist in a way that makes sense in sequence. There should be an element of calm, circus, and then re-entry. We’ve shamelessly stolen this from David Mancuso, who stole it from 60s LSD advocate Timothy Leary, who in turn stole it from the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Mancuso, the psychedelic 60s, and Buddhism. What more could anyone possibly aspire to.
Anyway, we’re getting carried away with ourselves, here is this week’s playlist.
– ✏️ –
This week we’ve found music in two books, searching for originals from edits, Gilles Peterson compilations, Sounds of the Universe (as ever), my birthday, Phonica, and Spotify.
The first track is a total ear worm, and I have no idea where I first heard it, but the message and feeling is pure. A perfect opener, and welcome to this week’s tape.
The next few tracks take samples and instrumentation from jazz and soul and give them a kick. I’m sure that most of the time it works the other way, but I had never been a massive fan of hip-hop until I got into jazz. Then lots of hip hop made sense to me. Souls of Mischief, Tribe Called Quest, Nas. All of it made much more sense to me (this Robert Glasper NPR documentary is a brilliant demonstration of the links). Jazz Liberatorz is one of those groups too. Then, much like last week’s UK jazz invasion tracks, we have a few tracks that definitely give a good representation of some of the modern soul coming out of London right now. Oscar Jerome, Wayne Snow, and Tenderlonious, all new talent. 22a (Tenderlonious’ label) is definitely one to check out too, and the Wayne Snow track we’ve included is also on the latest Gilles Peterson Brownswood Bubblers (available here).
Sun Ra and his Arkestra make their first appearance on our letter. They will almost certainly be a regular feature, as for us they represent all that is weird and wonderful about music. Spirituality, love, togetherness, pushing boundaries, pushing gravity, pushing reality. This specific track gets a mention in a book that I’m reading on Sun Ra himself at the moment, it’s a collection of talks, interviews, and features on him, and it gives a peek into the world of someone who was definitely very otherworldly.
I’m going to try and not mention Theo Parrish and Moodymann in every letter (I will most likely fail), but I found Celestial Blues on Parrish’s Black Jazz Signature album. I’ve included a different version, as I prefer the female vocals, but if you enjoy this track, give the whole album a whirl, it’s Parrish going back over the seminal Black Jazz Records catalogue and choosing some of his favourite tracks. Fort Knox Five’s Uptown Tricks is from the Moodymann DJ Kicks series (arguably the best of the whole series – with DJ Koze’s collection coming a close second). Please, go buy both. You won’t regret it.
Sounds of the Universe is solely responsible for the inclusion of Abuja by Monsalve y Los Forajidos. I had never heard it before, but when it was repressed recently they saved me a copy and played it to me the next time I went in. They know my tastes better than I do.
The Arnie Love & The Lovelettes track is a slab of pure soulful disco, but I’d never heard it until I bought a copy of Mall Grab’s Can’t Take It No More. The Mall Grab track is an edit of the original, and definitely nudges it up a notch for dancefloors, but the original is (I think) a classic.
The Jayson Brothers track, and the Terrence Parker track are amazing examples of deep, soulful house music. They’re both hypnotic, and I’ve tried to include them as a sort of peak. For me, they’re both perfect 2am moments.
It was also my birthday earlier this week, and my wonderful partner bought me the special edition of the Childish Gambino album Awaken, My Love (including a VR headset). I’ve had the album on repeat for six months, and I’ve been waiting so eagerly for the vinyl release, that I didn’t really think about the VR headset. The VR experience was unbelievable. I don’t want to spoil it too much, but it puts you in the heart of the album. It’s £50, but it’s worth it, I swear. Go buy it. I’ve also included the Minnie Riperton track because I’m pretty sure that the guitar line in Reasons was the inspiration for the huge guitar line in Childish Gambino’s track Riot. Well, Riperton, Funkadelic, and a heavy smattering of Lenny Kravitz, anyway.
Finally, I’ve included The Smiths. Alongside the Sun Ra book, I’m also reading How Soon is Now?, a book on the rise of the indie record label (Rough Trade, 4AD, mute, etc). I’m currently at the part where The Smiths turned Rough Trade from a cult into a fully-fledged force to be reckoned with. I’ve always been a big fan of The Smiths (the music, rather than the opinions), and I’ve chosen a brilliant Peel session from ’83 from them. The track also felt like a natural fit to the Justin Carter track too. Carter is the co-founder of New York record label, and dance Mister Saturday Night. It is undoubtedly what we aspire to.
As always, if you’ve read to here, thanks for indulging me ♥️.
– 📄 –
- Chassol – Music is God My Love
- Kiefer – Butterfly Inside My House
- Jazz Liberatorz – Clin D’oeil
- Oscar Jerome – Give Back What You Stole From Me
- Wayne Snow – Rosie
- Tenderlonious – Song for My Father
- The Souljazz Orchestra – Celestial Blues
- Sun Ra – Springtime Again
- Herbie Hancock – Watermelon Man
- Aron Ottignon – Waterfalls (live)
- Anchorsong – Butterflies
- Nerija – Valleys
- Joe King Kologbo – Sugar Daddy
- Monsalve y Los Forajidos – Abeja
- Steve Watson – Born to Boogie
- Arnie Love & The Lovelettes – We Had Enough
- Gladys Knight – It’s a Better Than Good Time
- Lapsley – Operator (DJ Koze’s Disco Edit)
- Fort Knox Five – Uptown Tricks (Rodney Hunter Remake)
- Jayson Brothers – The Game
- Terrence Parker – Love’s Got Me High (Marc Romboy’s Systematic Soul mix)
- Stevie Wonder – Did I Hear You Say You Love Me
- Azymuth – Fenix
- Minnie Riperton – Reasons
- Nohelani Cypriano – Lihue
- Childish Gambino – Redbone
- Lee Fields & The Expressions – Never Be Another You
- Justin Carter – Know It All
- The Smiths – Back to the Old House (John Peel session 9/14/83)
- Gabor Szabo – Galatea’s Guitar
See you on the dance floor.
Love Will Save the Day.
P.S. There will most likely be a live stream this Sunday early evening (7pm), available here.