Letter #85


How are you? I hope you’re doing well, having a lovely week, and excited about what the weekend holds.

The letter last week blew up a bit, so there’s lots of new people here this week – hello ❤️.  If you’re new here, then this is how this all works, and here’s the archives to go through old letters. Hope you enjoy!

This week we have a special guest, with a special mixtape, and a really special letter. This is the first time we’ve ever had an anonymous guest editor, and I’d like to say if anyone ever wants to submit an anonymous guest letter and mixtape, then please let me know (I will of course respect your decision for anonymity).

The letter and mixtape are focused on something incredibly close to my heart; mental health. I’ve written about my personal experiences with mental health here before, and a lot of people messaged me following that letter. What I loved about the letter this week is the way that our guest explains their feelings and process. Our experiences can be so difficult to explain to another person, but I think it’s important to try and share as much as we can about such things, in order to start to counter the stigma that often be attached to mental health.

As for the mixtape; I’m on my third listen already (I know, that’s cheating). It’s structured in a way that I’d never have thought of, and includes some old favourites that I haven’t listened to for years, along with lots of new and brilliant music too. There’s a really strange and ethereal quality to the way the songs have been put together. The only way I can think to describe it is that it has a very textual feel to it. Once you’re listening, I hope you’ll understand what I mean!

Anyway, I’m rambling. Go read. Go listen. Immerse yourself, it’s beautifully put together.

🌪 TL;DR Section 🌪
  2. I’m really excited about the incoming Flying Lotus album, and even more so now that he’s released a teaser video for one of the songs. Featuring David Lynch, and produced by the man behind Salad Fingers, David Firth. It’s great
  3. I’ll be making time this weekend to listen to this WIRE interview with Shabaka Hutchings
  4. This short documentary from RA on dance music in South Africa during Apartheid is great
  6. Bandcamp has created a sort of brilliant hybrid musical vinyl Kickstarter, whereby they’ll help you press your music onto record if you get enough support
  7. I really enjoyed this interview on XLR8R with Max Richter
  8. A bunch of brilliant artists have been commissioned to create music that is in response to work by Basquiat – and the album is out soon
  9. About twelve million people have sent me the Chemical Brothers Essential Mixthis week, so I’m going to presume it’s a good listen.
  10. And finally, read Joe Muggs talk about how one of my favourite songs of all time (Flat Beat) changed the world (and also got me into advertising).
 📚 The notes 📚
When Jed asked me write a guest newsletter, I was quite excited. Then I realised he had a far more eclectic, interesting, and set of songs sent out every fortnight than I could contribute to [this is not true, check the playlist – Ed.].

What I’ve tried to do is something a bit different, focusing on a bit of a subtext within the newsletters; mental health. Jed’s openness in writing about his struggles was one of those nice reminders that I wasn’t alone in having pretty grim days, weeks, and sometimes (when it’s really bad) months.

So I’ve decided my contribution to this wonderful series will be my attempt to pass on the favour. My playlist is 30 songs that I’ve found comforting when my emotions go south. Rather than being songs to mask the emotions we have, they are songs that embrace them, and hopefully give the listener a chance to process how they feel. In my experience, moods are cyclical – we can’t expect to be happy all the time – and music has always been an important way to help me to process my thoughts and emotions.

As usual, the playlist is split into three parts. But in a twist to the usual, the first ten is for when stuff starts getting shitter, so a bit of early My Bloody Valentine for the anger and frustration, contracted with some more soothing songs from Sharon Van Etten and Lanterns on the Lake.

The second ten is for when you’re at a low ebb. When it’s particularly bad for me, I find it difficult to talk or process words properly, and I just want to be left alone in bed. You can expect a fair amount of ambient from the likes of Mogwai and Brian Eno which I’ve found comfort, rather than exacerbate, the really shit times.

The final third is about the recovery, and in some respects, is the most important part of the playlist. It’s easy during a bout of depression to feel like it will never end – that there will never be any respite. But the beautiful thing is that it does; we recover, we move on, and we learn to handle the difficulties of daily life just a bit better than we did before, by accepting that it’s a complex world that isn’t always perfect; but a world we still have the right to enjoy. The final song (Troubled World by Separate Minds) is the best song I’ve ever heard which encapsulates this mentality.

So enjoy. I hope it provides comfort as an outlet for any emotional struggles you may face ❤️.

📃 The tracklist 📃
  1. Everything is Recorded – Everything is Recorded
  2. My Bloody Valentine – Sometimes
  3. Sigur Ros – Hljomalind
  4. DJ Seinfeld – U
  5. Death in Vegas – Girls
  6. Dry the River – Lion’s Den
  7. ScubaZ – The Vanishing American Family
  8. Sharon Van Etten – Afraid of Nothing
  9. Lanterns of the Lake – Keep on Trying
  10. Nina Simone – Stars (Live at Montreux)
  11. Gil Scott-Heron – Where Did The Night Go
  12. Orbital – Belfast
  13. Burial – Young Death
  14. Mogwai – I Chose Horses
  15. Radiohead – Treefingers
  16. Brian Eno – Signals
  17. Jonsi – Howl
  18. Foals – 2 Trees
  19. Akira Ito – Praying for Mother / Earth, Pt. 1
  20. Tom Demac – White Flowers
  21. Madvillain – Great Day (Four Tet remix)
  22. George Harrison – Isn’t It A Pity
  23. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs – Don’t You Forget About Me
  24. Helado Negro – Please Won’t Please
  25. The Durutti Column – Otis
  26. Gorillaz – Don’t Get Lost In Heaven
  27. Gorillaz – Demon Days
  28. Kamasi Washington – Truth
  29. Separate Minds – Troubled World
  30. Gold Panda – You
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See you on the dance floor.
Love Will Save the Day

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