Letter #32

Good morning / afternoon / evening everyone,

I hope you’ve had a wonderful week. The sun is staying out longer. The sky is occasionally flickering blue. Dry January’s are almost over. It’s nearly the weekend… Let’s start the weekend right, with some culture, a little dance, and a big fat smile ♥. 

HERE’S THIS WEEK’S MIXTAPE!

Enormous thanks to Matt for his guest letter last week, one of my favourites, and I ended up adding most of the playlist to Discogs 😃 .

–  🎼 –
TL:DR section…

Stuff to click: watch this brilliant new music video from Nike Korea by one of my super talented mates (hi Jas!); buy this great new book on music subculture and style from long time listener King Adz; and watch this short documentary on Detroit enigma (and hero) Moodymann from RA.

Music from: Nina Simone, Chaka Khan, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Jamie Woon, Zara McFarlane, Patti LaBelle, Herbie, Visage… 

– ✏️ –

For the first time in ages, I went to a party at the weekend. Not any old party, but All My Friends, run by long time listener (and author of three brilliant books) Tim Lawrence. Tim’s been running excellent parties for years now. Alongside Beauty and The Beat, he’s also a co-founder of Lucky Cloud Sound System, with Colleen Murphy, and our hero David Mancuso. So myself and Frank (who runs the Love Will Save the Day parties with me) went down and had a dance. Maybe it was the fact I’d not been out for a while, maybe it was the super friendly crowd, or the music, but I’ve not danced like that in a long time. Eyes closed, locked in, drenched in sweat, and smiling from ear to ear. 

Tim posted a photo and thank you note on Facebook earlier this week, and someone commented ‘as David said, once you experience the collective vibration, it affects you for the rest of your life’. I don’t think a party has stayed with me as long as this before, music has felt different this week, like I’m hearing it through new ears. I think I can honestly say that dancing at All My Friends is as close as I’ve ever felt to a moment of pure transcendence. That collective (and cosmic) vibration will stay with me forever, I think. I also don’t think I’ve ever heard a DJ work a room like Tim did, but that’s probably me geeking out too much. 

There were two musical moments that really stuck out; the live version of The Bottle, played early on and driving people into a real frenzy with the  epic drum breakdown in the middle; the moment Music Is My Way of Life came on; and then late on when Fade To Grey was played. I nearly cried, and on more than one occasion! So this has definitely had an influence on this week’s mixtape.

Anyway, I’m definitely rambling on, sorry. 

This week I also finished reading the brilliant Hit Makers: How Things Become Popular. It’s a brilliant book that explores the science and art behind (unsurprisingly) how things become popular. What I’ve found most interesting is the theory that Thompson puts forwards that for new things (ideas, songs, films – any cultural item) to have the best chance of becoming popular, it needs to have a balance between familiar and surprising, it needs to be presented in the right context, and it needs a healthy amount of repetition and exposure. This is why I think parties such as All My Friends, and DJ’s such as Mancuso can have such a profound effect on people. They present cultural items in different contexts and frames of reference, they balance familiar with surprising, and they use repetition to really drive emotion. At one point on Saturday we’d been dancing to a straight 4/4 kick with minimal percussion and just a sub-bass for accompaniment for what felt like fifteen minutes, just as I was starting to lag, in filtered a Feli Kuti edit… Strong stuff.

Strangely connected is the ongoing saga between Lana Del Rey and Radiohead, over the apparent plagiarism of Radiohead’s Creep, on the songGet Free. Ironically, Radiohead were sued for plagiarising Creep from the Hollies… The New Yorker has a great piece on the whole fiasco. 

On books and culture, I’d highly recommend you buy KingAdz and Wilma Stone’s new book – This Is Not Fashion, the story of streetwear and subcultures.

There was also a brilliant anecdote on Sun Ra’s medicinal healing powers,here. And I’m just about to reread this article (for the third time) on a scientists claim that he’s found a grand unified theory of music, here. Three times I’ve read it, and I still don’t understand orbifolds…

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

– 📄 –
  1. Magic Drum Orchestra – Drop It Like It’s Hot
  2. Nina Simone – Funkier Than A Mosquito’s Tweeter 
  3. Gil Scott-Heron – The Bottle (live)
  4. Dr. Lonnie Smith – Sweet Honey Wine
  5. Alessi Brothers – Seabird
  6. Chaka Khan – Papillon (aka Hot Butterfly)
  7. Fat Freddy’s Drop – Blackbird
  8. Jamie Woon – Sharpness 
  9. Jimmy Whoo – Wildcats
  10. Souleance – Georgian Kiss
  11. Maribou State – Midas (Glenn Astro’s Nonsense dub)
  12. Zara McFarlane – Plain Gold Ring (Kjell Anderson remix)
  13. Orgone – Funky Nassau (feat. Fanny Franklin)
  14. The Movers – Kansas City 
  15. Bosq – Found Your Love
  16. Patchworks – Juno Disco
  17. Folamour – Y’all Right
  18. Patti LaBelle – Music Is My Way of Life (Joey Negro edit)
  19. Bumblebee Unlimited – Lady Bug (disco mix)
  20. Milton Hamilton – We Have All The Time 
  21. Herbie Hancock – Magic Number 
  22. L’Imperatrice – Marahari 
  23. Gang – KKK
  24. Visage – Fade to gret (12” version)
  25. Sarah Blasko – Phantom 
  26. Efdemin – There Will be Singing 
  27. rRoxymore – Thoughts of an Introvert 
  28. Melanie De Biasio – Your Freedom is the End of Me (Matthew Herbert remix)
  29. Cornelius – Bird Watching at Inner Forest 
  30. Gaussian Curve – Ride

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

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