Letter #89

21.06.19
Hello, hey, hi,

How’s things? I hope you’re good.

Once again, I’m writing to you from the sky. Despite the fact that so many of these letters open with some variation on those words, I swear I don’t actually travel for work that much. Although I did read a brilliant quote from Stockhausen this week, who, upon becoming world famous, spent loads of time travelling and said “I had the feeling I was visiting the earth and living in the plane”. Anyway, this week I’m in Rhode Island with work, and so you’ll be reading this before I’m awake. It was also my birthday a few days ago, and it’s a big one this year; 33 (although I won’t be celebrating until it’s 33 1/3 – I’m kidding…).

Something amazing happened this week; and if you’re new here, then this something is probably why you’re here. Let me start at the beginning… A few weeks ago, Paul McDonald (who, as well as being a brilliant artist, wrote this excellent guest letter ages ago) messaged me to tell me that he was planning on putting together an illustration together in tribute to Love Will Save The Day, and asked if I could share some of the influences behind the project. So I did.

Now, in more than two years (oh shit, I’ve just realised that this project is just over two years old now!), I have never ever included any images, but this… This is worth it. The illustration Paul has put together is insane.

See, brilliant, isn’t it? Well, it’s so brilliant, that when I posted about it on Twitter, a lot of other people thought it was brilliant too. Like Gilles Peterson, Adam Scrimshire, Bradley Zero, Barbie Bertisch, the Soul Jazz heads, the Brownswood crew, the On The Corner crew, and a load of people from BBC 6Music. Some pretty legit reviewers ❤️ .

In fact, the response was so great, that Paul is going to do a limited print run. If you’d like one, then please reply and let me know. It will be strictly limited, so don’t sleep!

Paul is also available for commissions, so please get in touch with him for all your illustrative needs.

If you are one of the new people here, then here’s how this works, here’s the archive, and here’s the last letter too (which was, incidentally, one of my all time favourites).

This week’s mixtape starts off pretty slow and relaxed with some classic hip-hop and modern soul, then kicks things up about twelve notches with some pretty primal music (Girl Band are my new obsession – the track I’ve included this week is… You’ll see), and then I’ve tried to round things off a bit towards the end with some more ambient / experimental type stuff. I’m not sure the progression works as well this week as it did in the last mixtape, but let me know what you think. Either way, there’s some brilliant, and incredibly varied music ❤️

PRESS ME TO PLAY
🌪 TL;DR Section 🌪
  1. First things first, get yourself signed up to the excellent new newsletter from Joe Muggs.
  2. Go and bathe in the forest, find yourself some tranquility, and be healthier – it’s been proven that exposure to nature is beneficial to your health.
  3. This interview with Fiona Cartledge (who set up super-influential 80/90s street wear shop Sign Of The Times) does an amazing job at exploring and explaining the link between fashion, and club culture (thanks to Joe Muggs for the link!).
  4. I enjoyed this Bruce Davidson interview from The New Yorker.
  5. I don’t really watch much TV, so I don’t exactly feel like the best person to be making recommendations, but I’ve been obsessed with Chernobyl. The music, the writing, the way it’s shot – epic.
  6. I found this article on ‘Pristine Inner Experience’ (AKA the voices inside your head) to be absolutely fascinating.
  7. I enjoyed this interview with The Last Poets.
  8. There’s a new documentary on Blue Note coming that explores its enduring impact.
  9. This conversation between two pop critics at The Ringer is interesting – most particularly, the way in which the pop machine rolls on, and how some artists stay afloat and others sink – see also this interview with Madonna (the best line is the end line; “I wanted to be somebody, because I felt like a nobody”).
  10. I’m really excited to see what Rihanna is going to do with Fenty. Citing Kwame Brathwaite as the core influence is strong.
  11. I know I mentioned it a few weeks ago ahead of release, but the Basquiat tribute album, Untitled (18 Artists), is out now and it is amazing.
  12. Order yourself a copy of Vinyl London: A Guide to Independent Record Shops.
  13. Listen to The Quietus’s John Doran’s show Urban Hinterlands on BBC Sounds.
  14. Please for the love of god read Luc Sante’s beautiful piece on New York and being now.
  15. Finally, I’m tearing through books at the moment, and I’ve just started reading Dick Hebdige’s Subculture, Techno Rebels, the new book from Emma Warren, and finally a history of Surrealism and Dada (which I hadn’t realised were so intimately connected).
📃 The tracklist  📃
  1. Freddie Joachim – Backyards
  2. Penpals – Persona Non Grata
  3. A Tribe Called Quest – Sucka Nigga
  4. Zaia – Waste My Time
  5. Steve Lacy – Basement Jack
  6. GoldLink – U Say (feat. Tyler, the Creator)
  7. Scrimshire – Thru You (feat. Georgia Anne Muldrow)
  8. Toro y Moi – Ordinary Pleasure
  9. Channel Tres – Sexy Black Timberlake
  10. Jazzanova – Now There Is We (Kuniyuki Percussion remix)
  11. Tenderlonious – Casey Jr.
  12. Sivey – Nobody Else
  13. Congi – Somnium (Joe Armon-Jones remix)
  14. Nocturnal Sunshine – U&ME
  15. Lord Tusk – Know Ways
  16. !!! – UR Paranoid
  17. Girl Band – Shoulderblades
  18. Vegan – Olbass All Bass 004 (140Bpm)
  19. Leafcutter John – Doing The Beeston Bump
  20. DJ Food – Scratch Yer He’d (Squarepusher mix)
  21. DJ Earl – Face
  22. Flying Lotus – Yellow Belly (feat. Tierra Whack)
  23. Resina – In In (Lotic remix)
  24. Shygirl – UCKERS
  25. Future – Government Official
  26. Lex Amor – Mood
  27. Mala & Joe Armon-Jones – Scratch & Erase
  28. Sebastian Mullaert – Did You Talk With The Ferryman?
  29. Bonobo – Grains
  30. Carmen Villain – Observable Future
💥 If you enjoy this letter, then please take a second to forward this email, or share this link with a recommendation on Facebook or Twitter 💥
See you on the dance floor.
Love Will Save the Day

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