As I mentioned, this week’s mixtape is quite a lot different from usual. It’s actually been really hard to pull together, because while I really like dub, reggae, jungle, and drum n bass, it’s really light in my record collection. Sure, I’ve got a few Roni Size records, some Trojan compilations, and some Lovers Rock stuff from StudioOne, but there’s not exactly a depth of music. I guess this is largely due to my collection has historically been made up of a lot of music I’d consider either playing to people at a party, or DJing with, and I haven’t ever really considered the music on this week’s mixtape like that.
That’s definitely changed now, and as soon as I started to work through how I wanted to structure the mixtape, the music started to make more sense. I’ve also probably found so much new music that retains the jazz / soul / rhythmic feel that I’ve always been driven by, and that’s opened my eyes (ears?) massively. What’s nice is looking at the mixtape and seeing Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry only a few steps from a brilliant dubby techno remix from Andy Stott. Likewise, it sounds naturally to sit modern dancehall from Equiknoxx so close to a pummelling dubstep classic from Punch and Loefah, then only a few tracks later have a Total Science track with a huge jazz influence. As an aside, that Leofah remix of Pinch’s Punisher is intense. I’d forgotten all about it.
Hopefully the mixtape delivers on the same standard as usual, but I’d be lying if I said it had been anywhere near as easy or confident putting it together. Each week I put thirty tracks together knowing the musical stitches, (usually) something about the artists, and a lot of the history and heritage of the genres. This means I can usually be pretty confident that I’m picking music that works together, that’s not too obvious or trite, or (more scarily) I’m not being crass with certain choices (which is surprisingly easy to do, especially with regards to cultural appropriation).
I also found it really interesting asking people questions on Instagram – if you didn’t see, then the questions I asked were:
- Is there enough variation in the music?
- Does anyone read the TL:DR section? If so, what would you like to see more of?
- Does anyone read the rambling notes section? What would improve it?
- And finally, would people like to see the tracklist adding back in at the bottom of the letter? (A resounding yes, so you’ll find it below…)
If you didn’t see it on Instagram, I would love to get your thoughts (just reply to this email). I’m also going to do more of that sort of stuff on Instagram in the future too, so follow me to see.