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Sunday Soul – Europa 20-27

Year 11 – Playlist 15/52 – For the week of July 27th 2014

So the show at La Caseta on top of Montju├»c above Barcelona was amazing. Finn, Martha, Guille and I drove up there and met two other guys and set up the sound system around a simple concrete structure with an indoor cantina and an outdoor barbecue pit. They were roasting sausages, chicken, and vegetables for couples and quartets of people huddled in the gloaming shadows around the upper and lower areas of this magnificent view. The breeze from the sea, the breeze which doesn’t blow through Barcelona, reaches the tops of this mountain, and it was cool, and refreshing, and everyone seemed to be at a summery, late supper picnic peace.

Finn went first, and he played sublime records. Wonderful jams that made me shake my head and smile at everyone. I met Oli from Soul Minority, and a handful of other interesting travelers, expatriates and we talked things over and ate some food while Finn played. Finn was pretty hard on himself about playing for the first time on my setup without knowing it, but he really played beautifully, and we all enjoyed his selections and his mixing. Then it was my turn. I was handed a live record, chugging soul/disco at about 115 bpm. I love slow motion disco more than I should, so I just looped a piece of the record, found the mix and started my set. As has been true for almost every set of this tour so far, more than playing music people know – because not everyone knows my music, it’s when I start singing that people really come forward. I love that the simple power of a voice can collect and unite people like that. Makes me grateful, and proud of the people who come forward. I give a little, and they give a little. In situations like a mountain top in Spain, it’s very intimate, and so it is exactly like getting to know a group of people very personally on a level we don’t usually relate.

At the start of Finn’s set people were eating. At the start of my set they were dancing in their seats. But I had the pleasure of watching them stand up, and bravely take the first places on the makeshift dance floor. I never rode the tempo above 115, although I did drop it down a little, and I was delighted to see a crowd of dancers form around me. I really believe that tempo is a cheap way of expressing energy. I think that the width and depth of force and content is far more meaningful at the moment in music for dancing. I think that when the music slows down and the music is given a chance to articulate itself, and the waveforms are given a chance to truly form and reach you that a kind of emotional maturity is required to actually be capable of handling the impact of what happen inside of us when we dance in such a reflecting and personal way. I understand why party people want to hear the hard jams, and the silly things want to hear the hits. That’s fun for them. Right on. But what’s fun for me is really getting lost, and giving it all I’ve got. Right now, for me as a musician and as a producer/performer, there’s really something heavy and lovely to be said about the courage of a dance floor opening their hearts and celebrating at 115 beats per minute. I love it. By the end they were cheering and pawing at me, begging for more. And so I played some more.

I love how people are always surprised that I would be willing to play a humble gig in a situation like that. I know I’m not talking to a dancer, or a music lover. I absolutely live for gigs like that. It’s actually a huge part of why I do what I do the way I do it. You just can’t have that kind of experience in an amphitheater, or at some massive where you’re a million miles away from the people. I want it in my face so you can see me smile, and I can see you too.

Mostly Barcelona was a resting stop. The first and only of this tour full of 50 hour stretches spanning three countries and two gigs and then sleep. So Martha and I really needed some sleep, and it was great to walk the narrow streets, rest, wash clothes, and get our heads together.

Then we traveled on a 17 hour bus ride along the French and Italian riviera covering Montpellier, Cannes, Nice, Monte Carlo, and Monaco. The voyage was amazing. We originally planned to take the overnight planetarium disco ferry between BCN and Firenze, but we realized the day before we left that it would have put us into Florence a couple of hours after the gig at Rivalta was over. So we had to swiftly change plans. We tried to book the trim online, but it was too close to the date of departure so we went down to the train station and discovered that the prices were eight times what was listed on the web site. Frustrated I scoured the station for a possible rental car while Martha started looking at flights. I wandered into a lone travel agency and this very nice man helped us decide to take the bus. It was long, and weird, and wonderful. Just the adventure we had been craving after a few days of rest. The bus entered Italy at Genoa, and we stopped there to stretch our legs. We all piled into this roadside cafe type place and were met with a triple size, gleaming chrome espresso machine operated by a middle aged, bleach blonde diner goddess who made two of the most magnificent cappuccinos I’ve ever laid eyes on. And at last we pulled into the station in Florence. Gabriele met us at the station and whisked us off to his mother’s house where we laughed, ate, and napped until it was time to head to Rivalta for the show.

The show was unique, and wonderful. I invited Urmet K and Portofino Sunrise to join us for the sets. And they laid down some seriously beautiful music. The people didn’t really dance – this was explained to me several times that the Italians just don’t dance, that times are tough here and dancing together is a thing of the past for them. So I did my best to create as much of a spectacle as possible in hopes of creating some sort of critical mass and getting people dancing. They watched, they sang along, they cheered, they filmed me with their phones, and they seemed to love me dearly, and deeply but I think the only people actually dancing in that club were me, Urmet K, Martha and a handful of others. But they loved it, and I loved them. I was inspired to stick around and help rebuild the local Firenze house scene as one of music by the people, for the people, and I’d like to participate in that, but if anyone’s going to do that it is going to have to be the beautiful and amazing people of Florence for themselves.

It’s tough all over the world right now. There has been a tremendous shift in work and pay, the value of money and property, and time is marching on. Things are not what they used to be, but they never really were anyway, were they? I don’t think life is ever too hard or too oppressive for a little love, and a lot of music. Nothing saves my soul like dancing, seeing my friends, and spending some quality time away from what’s eating at me. I really think we converted a good many people at Rivalta, many of them admitted as much, and some were so inspired that they expressed that we had given them hope for a new scene in Firenze. I love to bring love to the wound, but I can’t do it by myself – I’m going to need a lot of help. Maybe more than there is. But let’s go out swinging, shall we?

Later today we are headed for Paris. We are taking the night train from Milan and arriving at 9am in central Paris. Martha is screening her film at Freespace Paris, and giving a Q & A and then after I am playing a 2 hour set, and then opening up the room for a discussion of community and electronic arts as they play a role in the changing world, and also making myself available for Q & A – but mostly I’m going to rock a free party at freespace – paris. But I’ll let you know all about all that next sunday – the last day of this tour, from Copenhagen.

Thank you for listening. See you next week!

Here is the track listing for Sunday Soul: EUROPE 20-27

1. Satin Birds Pt. 1 – Abel Korzeniowski
2. Moose – Himbrecht
3. Sazza – 2DotZero
4. Sunshine – Urmet K
5. More Like You – Instrumental – The Inhabitants
6. Brothers On The Side – Jimpster Remix – Patchworks
7. Le Flirt – Bakshtrai
8. Simple Minds – Ivan Latyshev
9. Honey Girl – Asaga
10. Amazonia – Gibbon
11. Model Walking – Slark
12. Keep Moving – Ivy
13. Water – Days Of Funk
14. Sunday Soul – Program ID
15. Satin Birds – Abel Korzeniowski
16. Sunday Soul – Program ID

Year 11 – Playlist 15|52
27 July 2014
Total Running Time: 01 Hour 20 Minutes

Buy this music if you love it. Buy it on vinyl. Play it loud. I am curating something personal for the people I love who take the time to listen. If you have feelings and would like to be stricken from the record here, please let me know and I’d be glad to never play your music here again. I’ve been mad about love before, and I totally understand.

May the stars above you shimmer and shine, guiding your heart always, all of the time. May they guide you sweetly, all the way home. And may all your sundays have soul.