Another month another mixtape. This month our main boy Seb put together his favourite jams for our second A Rule of Tum Mixtape. He's even gone ahead and added some commentary to boot down below!
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The vast body of this mixtape is music that I knew and loved before working with AROT, but has now become of special significance to me whilst working at this establishment, as well as the relationships with colleagues that the music has formed and fostered. I have picked out tracks that either have worked to this effect, or have been important to me over the last couple of years of my life. This isn’t an exercise in crate digging, rather an exercise in sharing that which I know and love; hopefully getting them into someone else’s head, even if just for a little nod of approval. Or maybe it could blossom into something more.
LYK U USED 2 - MOODYMAN FEAT. ANDRES
This was one of the first songs I played after a service in Burger Shop. Nobody stepped in and turned it off, so I assume it went down pretty well. Quite a breakthrough for me, as this was the first time in a job that I had listened to music that I genuinely loved and hadn’t been told that it was crap. Not that it had ever stopped me, but it was a pleasure to be working with colleagues who actually enjoyed something that I loved. This tune is an incredible jam no matter what; perhaps one of Moodyman’s best; perhaps one of Detroit’s best. Shout out to Lucy Watkins.
TWO WEEKS - FKA TWIGS
A track which falls into my own personal category of ‘perfect songs’: ones that I can listen at pretty much any time or in any circumstance, and which will infallibly give me a huge endorphin rush and ensure that I walk through the streets singing to myself like a tuneless Julie Andrews on a mountainside. At least she had the common decency to isolate herself from civilisation. And know the lyrics to her songs.
YOU CAUGHT ME SMILIN’ - SLY & THE FAMILY STONE
If you asked me what I thought about funk music 6 months ago, I would surely have given a short sighted opinion about fearing lycra bell bottoms. There’s a Riot Goin' On was a turning point for me, as I realised funk didn’t have to be brash, brazen, and performed by the elderly wearing skin tight shell suits. The story of Sly Stone recording this from depths of cocaine fuelled paranoia - with a wireless mic so that he didn’t have to get out of bed to record - just adds a level of grittiness to it which can be heard throughout the entire album. This song in particular has so many levels of meaning to it, and a real convolution of the idea of what is and isn’t ‘funky’. This most certainly is.
93 ’TIL INFINITY - SOULS OF MISCHIEF
Not just content with being an incredible era defining jam, this track is also one that will always remind me of AROT. Ally’s description of setting the oven to cook for ∞ then prompted us to spend far too long trying to grind our tired brains into remembering this track and whodunnit. The relief when we eventually conquered our stupidity was tangible, and listening to the Hieroglyphics members tear it up absolved us of all sin.
SAFE TO SAY - TREE
This song never fails to get me going. Tree has a very distinct delivery, and this track is infallibly excellent. It may not be a burger Shop regular, but I may have to militate to make a change.
TRUCKING MY BLUES AWAY #2 - BLIND BOY FULLER
Piquing my attention by not only being a racy, crazy 1930s blues due but also sharing my surname, Blind Boy Fuller has such a strong personality that comes through in most of his songs that I am conscious of. This version is much more lively and a bit rawer than the 1st take, and bearing in mind that ‘Trucking’ can be seen a euphemism for another word which may not have been particularly acceptable on record in the 20s, Trucking My Blues Away #2 never fails to get me trucking in the right direction.
THEME DE YOYO - ART ENSEMBLE OF CHICAGO
‘Oh my, this record is cool. Those horns sound really funky, they’re really getting me going’. A perfectly normal way to hear the intro, until it climaxes and comes crashing down in the most exquisite dissonance. The breakdown on this track is perhaps one of the best moments in music for me. Best. Drop. Evaaa.
BORROWED TIME - PARQUET COURTS
We all exist on borrowed time to some extent. Might as well make the most of it and smash out some garage rock. A friend of mine and I once went to Manchester from uni to see Parquet Courts. We caught the warm up act (Eagulls, who were pretty good, but not the band we came for) and the first 3 songs - of which we knew none - then had to run for a train as we had misread the timetable and realised that the last one home left at 10:20, not an hour later as we had wanted to believe.
NEW BIRDS - ARAB STRAP
One of the most miserable bands in existence have somehow managed to create one of the most ecstatic moments in my iTunes library. The lyrics of this song always conjure up a rueful smile; by the time the guitars kick in at about the three and a half minute mark I will have infallibly turned the volume up to the max and am a weeping wreck, torn between abject misery and complete joy.
BRAND NEW DAY - DIZZEE RASCAL
A tune that seems to me to be without age. I first got into this from Spooky’s Cold mix, with adds more bass and strips away the vocals. I swiftly came to the realisation the Dizzee’s original needed no help to be a stonker.
FUNCTION - THE BUG FEAT. MANGA
Probably the biggest song from the Bug’s last album, one not lacking in huge tracks - as well as fantastic, more ambient leaning ones. Everything Kevin Martin has done deserves a mention, but the Bug has been rather formative for me. This song in particular merits its place in this mixtape due to a particularly stressful and long service, at the end of which Steve suggested we play some ‘dirty stinking bass’. I didn’t get round to playing this until a less appropriate moment, but I have regretted not capitalising upon the opportunity ever since.
TAXI DRIVER - BOBBY BENSON
I’ve been aware of Highlife for a couple of years now, but due its lack of penetration into European music have struggled to find artists to latch on to. Mentioned in passing in Half of a Yellow Sun’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie as a song which is ‘too mainstream’ for the tastes of 1960s Nigeria’s intelligentsia, I had to give it a listen, and every time I hear it I enjoy it more. My favourite inclusion on the Burger Shop Sunday playlist (not that I’m biased at all…).
PEARLY GATES - THE MEN
I kind of had to throw this in here as a bit of disruption. When my friend Jamie and I hosted a radio show, we would always have a couple of tracks in the mix that just didn’t really belong there - more for our own satisfaction than that of the listener. I can’t help but indulge. Fortunately, this song is amazing, and gives me a strong desire to get a chopper and drive across the Nevada desert shooting at cacti as I use more fuel than a small city getting from A to nowhere.
THAT’S NOT ME - SKEPTA FEAT. JME
Just quite frankly the best song of 2014, and every body knows it. I could probably contrast this to the job that I had before being in the kitchen, serving coffee and enjoying very little of it. The whole idea of finding oneself by contrasting yourself against that which you know you are not is something that resonates strongly with an indecisive bugger like me.
TURIYA & RAMAKRISHNA - ALICE COLTRANE
Alice Coltrane may be a demigod, albeit one without immortality. I like to think that she exists on a transcendental mortal plane, jamming with Pharaoh Sanders and making the void infinitely more beautiful. The intro to this song is the sexiest thing in the entire world.
YOU WERE WRONG - SD LAIKA
Perhaps one of the best things to come out of the instrumental grime movement, an incredible bit of bass music with some real depth and experimentation to it. The whole of That’s Harakiri is completely insane, but this, one of the shorter, harder hitting tracks, is very much the one.
1000000 KISSES - HALF JAPANESE
Whilst Half Japanese are notoriously lacking in music that would be described as conventional pop hits (preferring to sound like a cat being ironed by a confused and angsty teenager), I can’t help but adore the saccharine nature of this song.
EKO ILE - FELA KUTI
A huge hand to Steve, Nicole and Sid for pushing Fela Kuti Sundays. Whilst we haven’t quite got round to building a comprehensive playlist that can stretch throughout a full 12h period, we can at least enjoy some Afrodisiaco for a few hours whilst cleaning out deep fat fryers before service.
WORK FROM HOME - FIFTH HARMONY FEAT. TY DOLLA $IGN
Dr. Strangelove: Or how I learned to stop worrying + love the BOMB.
Honourable Mention: Elf Kid - Golden Boy
Which appears to have been removed from Spotify. Probably because the heavy sampling of Amerie’s One Thing is just too right to be legal. (naught link)