Just a few quick things in life, music and writing that kept me going in 2018.
New + newly discovered + reissued music I loved:
- Letta Mbulu – In the Village the Music Never Ends – Breezy South African boogie from a super legend, reissued a few years ago, I finally grabbed it this year. LOVE LOVE LOVE.
- Brenda & the Big Dudes – Weekend Special – Unsung pop hero of 80’s South Africa, I discovered her after a trip to Cape Town this spring. Shoulda been a BIG hit here.
- Gumba Fire – Bubblegum Soul & Synth-Boogie in 1980s South Africa – You might be noticing a theme here… This was Soundway’s best comp of 2018 for sure, the name says it all. Heavy rotation in my sets all year.
- Peggy Gou – It Makes You Forget (Itgehane) – If you went underground house clubbing anywhere in Brooklyn this year you probably heard this. Peggy singing in Korean on a bouncy house groove. So so good!
- Zeitgeist Freedom Energy Exchange – Badass future jazz vibes from Australia, these guys came out of nowhere for me and just blew me away.
- Nu Guinea – Nuova Napoli – Makes me feel like I’m lounging on Pantelleria Island with my newly married buds Calvin & Christian.
- Nouvelle Ambience!!! – A compilation of Pan-African 80’s jams via Paris. So much fire, especially this one.
- Esa – London Mix – Breaky acid-y cosmic housey gorgeousness on the Japanese Endless Flight label.
- J-Jazz: Deep Modern Jazz from Japan 1969-1984 – Wild deep crazy jazz vibes. If you’ve been digging Kamasi Washington this will do it for you.
- Lots of Japanese funk/soul/city pop from the 70’s/80’s – I went down the rabbit hole hard on this era. So many jams, like Junko Yagami’s “Communication”, and Kimiko Kasai’s “We Can Fall in Love”
- World Standard – Weirdest thing that I fell in love with this year, cute, happy, ethereal instrumental music from 1980s Japan. Sounds like it’s from an alternate universe.
- John Coltrane – Both Directions at Once – Lost recordings from the legend, resurfaced. So much energy and vibe, this one kept me going during stressful times this year.
Some books I loved:
- Bullshit Jobs: A Theory by David Graeber – Nonfiction, looking at why a huge percentage of people feel deep down that their jobs are pointless and do no good for society. He gets anecdotes from people in those jobs, and looks at the psychological toll this all takes on them, and society at large. It’s infuriating, and occasionally darkly, ROFL funny.
- Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovksy – Crazy Sci Fi about generation starships, unintended bioengineering consequences, and an epic conflict between humans and another culture of…SOMETHINGS. It would be a spoiler to say what. Does an amazing job of bringing to life a complex society that’s SO far from our own and is just a wild and funny mind fuck.
- The Power by Naomi Alderman – Imaginary alternate herstory of a world in which young women around the world suddenly gain an amazing superpower and how it changes everything. Amazingly told through a bunch of interconnected story threads.
Some articles that really stuck with me:
- Why Can’t Democrats Get Angry? – Kinda hit the nail on the head for me about why Ford/Kavanaugh played out the way that it did. Some rough truths in here.
- The Ignorant Do Not Have a Right to an Audience – Shoots down some of the ways free speech ideas get twisted by shitty people. If only the CNNs of the world would actually take this to heart.
- Annoyed by Restaurant Playlists, a Master Musician Made His Own – My feel-good story of the year, the legend Ryuichi Sakamoto from Yellow Magic Orchestra making a beautiful playlist of music to make the experience at Kajitsu Restaurant even better. I’ve yet to go but it’s high on my list for the new year.