Love Will Save The Day
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Hello! Hey, hi, how r u?
I hope you're good. If you aren't then I've got just the tonic, and if you are good, then this week is going to put an even bigger smile on your face. I'm feeling very confident.
Before I get into that, I wanted to say a huge thank you to Anne Frankenstein for her brilliant, bonkers, eclectic guest letter and interview! If you missed it, you can listen again here.
Now, this week. I'm very excited to share this. This week's it's an ode to s l o w .
I’ve been thinking about the importance of ‘slow’ a lot recently. Slow reading, writing, thinking, listening, running, watching... When you slow things down, you just feel more. You become part of whatever it is that you're listening to or reading. You become more than just a tourist.
So this week I'm putting a gentle hand on the platter of the universe, to bring down the tempo a little. Slowing heartbeats, creating space between the notes, helping you to experience now, to experience this moment, not just let it pass you by. Finding a little psychic drift, hypnotising you through your ears.
See you on the dancefloor,
PS. If you're new then this is how it works. Here’s what you’ve missed so far. And this is me.
PPS. If you're still reading this bit here, then would you mind sending this email on to a few friends that might like it? Or tweeting or posting on on Facebook about it?
🌪 TL;DR Section 🌪
The TL;DR Section is a little different at the moment, as I've been trying to read more books, so naturally my other reading has shrunk a little.
Heavy rotation albums, comps, and playlists
🙋🏻♂️ Driving Change 🙋🏻♂️
Platforming; If you are black, a POC, or you're a person that has been marginalised, and you would like to guest edit an edition of Love Will Save The Day, please get in touch with me. I want to ensure that your voice is heard. Just reply to this email.
Mentoring; As a senior white man in advertising and media, I hold a very privileged position. If you, or any one that you know, is interested in a career in advertising or media and needs a mentor and/or a leg-up, please contact me / get them to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
📚 The notes 📚
These notes are cribbed from the show notes, but I wanted to share them for those that would rather read while they listen, than listen to me while they listen...
A friend called Tim Kitell introduced me to Darkside in the early 2010s, and I didn’t get it. Tim has introduced me to a tremendous amount of amazing music over the years – his ears are far better than mine – and often at first I just don’t get it. Madlib is another good example. But with Darkside, I had a visceral reaction. It’s bluesy, it’s cinematic, it’s SLOW. It wasn’t, in my ears, for dancefloors. And the idea of SLOW was, to me, criminal, in the early 2010s. I was living in Dalston, partying four or five nights a week, and I wanted nothing to slow me down. I only wanted fast, faster, fastest.
This feeling – this desire – started to spread into every facet of life. Work, friendships, relationships, music, art, reading, culture, money, health – my desire became about having everything, now. Slow was antithetical to my whole worldview. Slow was a waste of life. Nas said "I’ll sleep when I’m dead", I thought the same. I had a hunger that could only be sated by more, faster.
That hunger grew and grew, parts of it became unsustainable, so I lopped those parts off, as they started to slow me down in other ways (excessive partying was the first to be culled). It wasn’t bad, my life continued to accelerate, I got what I wanted, and I got it fast.
But I was always living for tomorrow, for the next thing. I always wanted. The thirst became unquenchable.
Then just before the pandemic, I saw Jamie Tiller play Public Records in New York, and I saw something different. It felt like he slowed the entire planet down that night, a graceful palm on the platter of the planet. Pitching it all down, slowing heartbeats, creating space. Helping people to experience time, not just witness it.
I realised very recently that my obsession with speed was not only costing me my sanity, but it was actually slowing me down. I’ve always thought of myself as a sprinter, someone who throws myself into everything at full pelt, then rests up once I’ve made progress. This attitude is scattered across my adult life. I’ve sneered at the marathon runners, who remain on a level, never hitting the peaks, but avoiding the lows. But it was a false binary I created and then propagated. A frame that I took to heart. A mask that I wore to explain my actions, attitudes, and behaviour. But the mask started to wear me.
I read an excellent essay in Teen Vogue by Fortesa Latifi, which profiled a number of young adults who’d made stark discoveries about themselves and their sense of identity during the pandemic. Given the warping of time, and freedom or confines of space, many people have escaped the pressures of society, and found a new comfort in themselves. As David in the essay said, “Being stuck at home means you aren’t performing constantly anymore to an audience,”. As well as joggers and baggy sweatshirts, the pandemic has given us space and time to take our masks off too. To reassess who we are, why we are, what we are, and who we want to be from now on too. In the midst of all this, I set up Common People, a community for working class people and people from working class backgrounds in the creative industries. It’s been incredible, enraging, and heart-breaking hearing about people’s experiences and their feelings of being ‘other’. Sharing my own has been cathartic, and a learning experience.
In many ways I’ve gone through a pretty huge life transformation over the last eighteen months. In mind, body, and soul. Almost all of it has been typified by a move to understand more, to think more deeply, to consume and produce more slowly, but with more consideration. With deeper purpose, and stronger intent.
Running has been an excellent guide. I’ve learnt discipline, patience, pace, the importance of rest, the importance of looking after myself, I’ve discovered that to get stronger, to run faster I have to spend more time going slower. I’ve become much more considered in my actions. Less firebrand, more focused.
When you slow things down, you feel every step, read every sentence, hear every sound. You live and breath it all in. You’re part of it, not just a tourist.
It hasn't been easy though, and it’s taken some recalibration. I think Love Will Save The Day has suffered from this transition, but I know it’s the only way to improve things for the future, and the only way to enjoy things now. Reading, writing, thinking, running, listening, watching, consuming… I’m trying to do it all with more understanding, and make it less about mindless, shallow knowledge acquisition.
To get faster, to get stronger, you have to go slower. This is why this is an ode to slow.
And in a broader context, slow doesn’t mean unambitious. It doesn’t mean lack of drive. It means doing something with purpose and determination. Putting the work in. Constantly. Not trying to find shortcuts or speed boosts but grinding. Diamonds form under the constant pressure of the earth over millions of years, not from a one-off lightning strike.
Andrew Weatherall famously said that ‘the slower the music, the more space there is’, and despite his 'Prague panel beaters' era, he was a DJ famed for his ability to build a groove without having to hammer the BPM. In his partnership with Sean Johnston as DJ crew A Love From Outer Space, they pushed back against what they saw as an obsession with speed, acceleration, and the future, pushing the opposite way to, and trying to return us to our meditative, trance-inducing, roots. They wanted to hypnotise, to create experiences beyond a rush. As Harry Sword would put it, they were trying to create a psychic drift… And the slow grind of sub 100 beats per minute is hypnotic – hopefully the music on today’s show will demonstrate that – it does it through tapping into something primordial, a physical, bodily, rhythm, that generates not a nod, but a sway, and as we sway back and forth, feeling the pull in each direction, it forces a sort of submission to the groove. Like a drone drawing us deeper into our own consciousness, the almost-catatonic state of being locked in beyond our own will, tied into the universal vibration around us, and within us.
That sense of steadily pushing on – of sustained statis – is covered a lot in Monolithic Undertow, Harry Sword’s excellent history of the drone throughout the history of sound and music. Surgeon talks about how he grew up hearing the drone of the motorway each night as he lay in bed, and connected the drone to the feeling of infinity – this sense of a higher power – something which makes a connection between the art of the British Murder Boys and Midlands techno and Alice Coltrane and Don Cherry – a connection I never thought could exist. Monolithic Undertow has undoubtedly had an influence on this week’s mixtape – explicitly in some of the later tracks, but implicitly in the tone and textures of some of the music I’ve chosen. To me, the drone is as much a feeling as a sound itself. The spirit of the drone has no end, it is a pure sustained vibration, emanating from the tiny fireball that exploded 14 billion years ago, to this moment, right now. A single universal vibration.
I've come to think that life is about learning to slowly harness the energy of the world into the craft of creation, not lazily waiting for some false-ideal of divine inspiration or god-given talent to suddenly appear. This is the importance of understanding over knowledge. Consistency. Pace. Investment in and dedication to your cause, your purpose.
Creativity comes from craft. Craft comes from consistency.
We all know the phrase ‘It took me ten years to become an overnight success’. Anyone can acquire shallow knowledge, but building understanding takes conviction and commitment, and great ideas don’t come from repurposing what’s already there, but understanding what is missing. Invest yourself. Create what we need, what we want, what we don’t have.
This is the Love Will Save The Day ode to slow. Slow is good.
📖 Old notes 📖
Notes on culture
Notes on music
Notes on mental health
📃 The tracklist 📃
Darkside - A1
Nicola Cruz - Cumbia del Olvido
Chancha Via Circuito - Suén?o en Paraguay (El Bu?ho remix)
Dengue Dengue Dengue - Guarida (ft. Sara Van)
Boom Bip - Last Walk Around Mirror Lake (Boards of Canada remix)
Eurythmics - This City Never Sleeps
Fuga Ronto - Journey Unknown
John Talabot - Zanzibar (80's Tapemix)
Majik - Take Me There (Psychemagik edit)
Moodymann - Do Wrong
Vakula - Joiwind
Jose Padilla - Solito (Wolf Muller water mix)
Axel Boman - Slave To The Vibe
Royksopp - Monument (ft. Robyn)
LCD Soundsystem - Oh Baby (lovefingers remix)
Sad City - Steady Jam
Payfone - A Prayer For Maya Angelou
Felix Laband - Righteous Red Berets (Luke Vibert remix)
Matanza - Existencia (Acid Pauli remix)
Maps - I Heard Them Say (Andy Stott remix)
Not Waving - Believe
Gary Numan - Down In The Park
Drexciya - Cascading Celestial Giants
Jean-Michel Jarre - The Heart of Noise, Pt. 1
Aleksi Kerala - GBBVT1337022
Throbbing Gristle - Hamburger Lady
Jon Hassell - Fearless
Apex Twin - #7
Clark - Amor (C.B. remix)
William Basinski - Melancholia II
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See you on the dance floor.
Love Will Save the Day