Letter #27

Good morning / afternoon / evening everyone,

I hope that you’re all well! London slowed to a standstill this week when we had dusting of snow. Seriously.

This week we’ve got a brilliant guest letter from Tom Armstrong from The Move magazine. I’ve mentioned the magazine a few times before, but for the uninitiated, The Move magazine is a UK-based magazine that covers the emerging UK jazz, new groove, new soul, grime, garage etc music scene. I’ve found so much new music through its pages, and the first three issues are well worth buying. You can get them either here, or I think Sounds of the Universe still has copies in stock. Don’t sleep!


–  🎼 –
As I mentioned above, this week we have a very special guest editor – Tom from The Move magazine. Both the tape and the letter are excellent, and (I think) the perfect love letter to London.

Outside of the letter, you can follow them on Twitter and Instagram – both are brimming with good stuff. 

Over to you, Tom…

– ✏️ –
What ties my musical taste together? As a Londoner and ‘90s kid there’s only one answer: bass.

Whether bouncy and agile, bobbing and weaving between the drums, or vast and menacing, blocking out the sun and coming down on you like a monster truck on a grasshopper. When you feel it and it gets inside you, it’s like nothing else.

The roots of London’s love affair with bass lie in the wave of Commonwealth immigration, the Armstrong’s, my dad’s family from Jamaica, in amongst it. By the time I was coming of age in the 90s it was part of the city’s DNA. It rumbled through humid traffic jams and growled from behind estate windows, intimidating and enticing in equal measures. It’s been the baton passed on to each musical movement born on our streets, from Britfunk to UKG to Lovers Rock to Jungle, and this playlist was built with that in mind. For further reading on this, I’d recommend Lloyd Bradley’s excellent Sounds Like London.

When General Levy’s Incredible landed it sent shockwaves around the manor. I remember standing in the playground on the estate with my mate Jon trying to mimic the MC’s vocal trickery. I had no idea what this music was but I knew it came from a different place than what I’d heard on Top of the Pops. This was my introduction to the underground. In the years that followed I became obsessed with searching out those sounds emanating from the streets, locking into pirate radio, rummaging bargain bins and, eventually, going clubbing. I’ve uncovered all the tracks on this playlist during that endless musical journey.

The playlist is bookended by a message. Conflict bred from injustice is something which lies heavy on this city’s consciousness. Every generation has been doomed to see their streets and homes burn, often with blame loaded onto their already weary backs. I want to send people away motivated to stand together, to raise our voices and see where our real enemies are, in London and everywhere else. Blessed.

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

– 📄 –
  1. Fabian – Prophecy
  2. Level 42 – Starchild
  3. Savanna – Never Let You Go
  4. Loose Ends – Let’s Get Back to Love
  5. Atjazz – All That
  6. Henry Wu & Tenderlonious – Natural Complexion
  7. Vikter Duplaix – Manhood
  8. Ramsey & Fen – Love Bug (original bump mix)
  9. Sticky (ft Ms Dynamite) – Booo!
  10. Mosca – Bax
  11. Gerideau – Masquerade (MJ Cole edit)
  12. Stush – Dollar Sign
  13. M-Beat & General Levy – Incredible
  14. Leviticus – The Burial
  15. Tessela – Hackney Parrot (Special Request VIP)
  16. Ossie – Tarantula
  17. Scott Garcia & MC Styles – A London Thing
  18. MJ Cole – Sincere
  19. The Rah Band – Downside Up
  20. Binker and Moses – Trees on Fire
  21. Soul II Soul – African Dance
  22. Tenerlonious – Ghana
  23. Ruby Rushton – Elephant & Castle
  24. Kleeer – Happy Me
  25. Delegration – You and I
  26. Blue Lab Beats – Journey
  27. IAMDDB – Falling Far
  28. Gregory Isaacs – If I Don’t Have You
  29. Phyllis Nelson – Move Closer
  30. Bob Marley & The Wailers – War

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

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