Mixtape
December 2020
Funk / Soul / Jazz / Electronic
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Monthly mixtape artwork collage cover.
Mixtape
December 2020
Funk / Soul / Jazz / Electronic

A bit about last month.

December, a closure month that always seems to fly by. I spent the first half in Berlin, wrapping things at work before taking time off, focusing on photography during my free time and getting ready to fly back home for the Christmas holidays. For the second half, I was in Lebanon, spending time with family, reconnecting with friends, walking the streets of Beirut for the first time since the August 4 explosion, going on road trips, soaking up the Mediterranean sun and indulging in homemade food.

That was the personal update. On to the music.

December, a closure month that always seems to fly by. I spent the first half in Berlin, wrapping things at work before taking time off and flying back home for the Christmas holidays. If there's one thing I will remember vividly from my time there, it's the deep sadness I felt walking the streets of Beirut for the first time since the August 4 explosion.

This is the last mixtape of 2020. 90 minutes of jazz, soul and funk, with a touch of electronic sounds towards the end.

Recommended Setting

Recommended setting: for a spring walk on that first warm week-end of the year, witnessing tree buds sprouting, amazed by nature coming to life again.

CHAPTER 1

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Til A Mermaid Drags You Under - Mary Lattimore
2020

We start with a 10-minute track by Mary Lattimore, a harpist who augments her graceful harp improvisations with electronic effects. With Slowdive’s Neil Halstead in the producer’s chair, her latest album is entrancing and sweeps you in. The mixtape opener features a reverb-soaked guitar dancing around a steady harp melody, creating a gentle ambiance that sets the mood for what’s to come.

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Ungena Za Ulimwengu (Unite The World) - The Undisputed Truth
1971

We continue with 'Ungena Za Ulimwengu' by The Undisputed Truth. Slow psychedelic soul tackling the more-than-ever critical subject of world peace, released 45 years ago by this great Motown recording act.

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Orange Peel - Sopwith Camel
1973

Cooly funk-scented ambient jazz on 'Orange Peel' by Sopwith Camel, a band associated with the San Francisco psychedelic rock scene of the late 1960s. In 1973, they recorded The Miraculous Hump Returns From The Moon, a terrific album that never got the recognition it deserved.

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Common Ground - Dirtwire
2020

Next is 'Common Ground' by Dirtwire, taken from their latest album Crux, released a couple of weeks ago. On this track, the band weaves their harmonica with a dobro, a kalimba, a banjo, and tops it off with a great bass line.

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Breeze - Jiro Inagaki and Soul Media
1975

Jiro Inagaki and Soul Media’s Funky Stuff was definitely the best discovery of the month. With 2 tracks from the album featured on this mixtape, a big shout out to the YouTube algorithm for shining a light on forgotten Japanese masterpieces.

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Tabú, Tabú - Sola
1973

Prominent bass, delicate acoustics, elegant bongos and a persistent flute blend seamlessly with Sola’s soaring voice on 'Tabu, Tabu'.

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Kinsionia - Franco & Le T.P OK Jazz
1972

We continue our musical journey with 'Kinsiona' from Franco and Le T.P OK Jazz, a Congolese rumba band that was established in the 50s, remained active for 40 years and became the most popular and significant African band of its time. This song was released in 1972 at a time when the band was consolidating their position as the giant of Congolese popular music.

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祭ばやじか聞こえる」のテーマ - George Yanagi, Nadja Band
1977

I was really looking forward to the latest Late Night Tales by Khruangbin. This song by George Yagani and Nadja Band stood out from what turned out to be a disappointing compilation.

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Painted Paradise - Jiro Inagaki and Soul Media
1975

Next is another song from Funky Stuff, smooth funky stuff indeed that kept me going during long work sessions.

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Time - Leifur James
2018

Refreshing contemporary jazz on 'Time' by Leifur James. The experimental London-based musician creates layers and build ups in a very subtle way, reflecting a vast range of influences and feelings.

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Doll Play I - Yasuaki Shimizu
1981

'Doll Play I' by saxophonist Yasuaki Shimizu (with Ryuichi Sakamoto on the drums) sounds like the perfect soundtrack for a David Lynch movie.

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Parallel 5 - Four Tet
2020

Four Tet just dropped 2 albums. 'Parallel 5' is an interlude taken from one of them, and it marks a shift in this mixtape to more electronic sounds.

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Liberty Bell - DARKSIDE
2020

Following the recent release of a recording from a 2014 concert (Nov 2020 mixtape), DARKSIDE dropped a new down-tempo track earlier this month featuring atmospheric electronic, tinges of psychedelia, and Jaar’s mellow vocals. After 7 years, they’re back and their second album Spiral  is set to be released in 2021. This song has been on repeat last week, accompanying my sunset walks on the Beirut corniche.

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Renegade Breakdown - Marie Davidson, L'OEil Nu
2020

Cranking it up a notch, 'Renegade Breakdown' is the title track of Marie Davidson’s latest album. A bold and darkly funny pop song. On this album, the French Canadian (one half of the synth-pop duo Essaie Pas) teams up with two collaborators from the Montreal’s DIY scene. According to her Bandcamp page, this track is a “reaction to years in which she spent most of her life on the road, navigating the club and festival lifestyle: the airports, the late nights, the lost or damaged gear - often alone, always with her case of instruments and cables in tow.”

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Radioactivity (Francois Kervorkian 12" Remix) - Kraftwerk
2020

We continue with a remix of Kraftwerk’s 'Radioactivity' by Francois Kervorkian, probably the best remix out there of this iconic track.

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Cajun Moon (feat. Cissy Housten) - Herbie Mann
1976

Next is 'Cajun Moon', composed by J.J. Cale, featuring Cissy Houston on the vocals and released on jazz flautist Herbie Mann’s 1976 album Surprises.

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Pleasant, If Not A Little Deadly - Robin Guthrie, Harold Budd
2020

To wrap things up, we end with a deep, poignant and haunting song from Another Flower, a 2020 album by Cocteau Twins’ Robin Guthrie and ambient composer Harold Budd. Budd passed away a couple of weeks ago, 4 days after the album was released. This is a celebration of his life and stunning musical pieces.

CHAPTER 2

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Happy listening

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