WARMER MIXTAPES #1147 | by James Robertson (People In Jars) and Adeleye Oluwarotimi Omotayo of Equals

SIDE A | by Adeleye Oluwarotimi Omotayo

1. Michael Jackson | Human Nature
This song takes me back to simple times. My dad would always slide the Thriller tape into the car deck in the evenings, on our way back from church. The hook on that song was the beautiful synth string part. Blew my mind and always made me feel a tinge of sadness as the weekend drew to a close. As a child I recall chuckling at the lyric, if this town is just an apple/then let me take a bite. I’d tell myself, That’s silly. You can’t bite a town. Still one of the most beautiful songs ever and MJ was in his vocal element on this one.

2. Kanye West  | I’m In It
I’m a massive fan of Rap Music. Yeezy’s latest project encountered more backlash than 808s & Heartbreak, from his hard-core fans. Matter of fact, my initial reaction to it was WTF is this shit! For me this song connected all the dots and now I think the album is incredible. It’s the first time Kanye has experimented with Dancehall and the raw spit in his lyrics (put my fist in her like a civil rights sign?) match the desolate landscape. Only Kanye West would see nothing strange in pairing Assassin and Justin Vernon. May Yeezus name be praised!

3. Death Grips | Lord Of The Game (feat. Mexican Girl)
How do I find beauty in such savagery? Maybe it’s MC Ride’s riotous lyrics or Mexican Girl's delicious cameo. This song has to be heard to be believed. It’s ultimate chaos! They sampled an elephant for God’s sake.

4. Frank Ocean | Forrest Gump
R&B was in the crematory before Frank Ocean came around to save it and this song summarises the triumph that is his, now classic album, Channel Orange. For such a forward facing album, it’s most powerful song, for me, consists solely of Hawaiian guitar and church organ. It’s the beauty in simplicity and the unflinching honesty of his lyrics that made this an event. Hell, I feel like a winner for listening.

5. Pusha T | Numbers On The Board 
Amazingly, this is Pusha T’s debut album. He’s been part of the Hip-Hop fraternity for ages now. Yeezus on the boards concocting hypnotic Metal sounds (honestly, have no idea what that was but it’s brilliant). Pusha T convincingly states his case for the hottest MC around. What I love about Kanye is he always throws in a curveball. This occurs in the second verse when he resurrects JAY Z circa ’98. It’s a welcome reminder of Rap's glory years. We may well be moving into another golden age and Pusha T is well positioned to usher it in.

6. Van Hunt  | What Can I Say (For Millicent)
I first heard of Van Hunt in a local newspaper. He was ranting about most of the Neo-Soul (hate that word now) being made at the time. I downloaded this song out of spite but that soon turned to awe. Frankly, it’s a most beautiful ballad. Tender and haunting in equal measure, it does what a ballad is supposed to do. Send a surge of emotion through your very being. My favourite lyric in the song is: Somewhere along the... I lost a melody... But I don’t want the birds to sing... Sing it to me. One of my favourite artists. Funkster/Rock star/troubadour. He’s that dude.

7. Terence Trent D’Arby  | Turn The Page
One of the most underrated artists ever, in my opinion. TTD had it all! Check him out on YouTube, if you don’t believe me. This song is about moving forward and I listen to it on the daily. He’s trying to channel Dylan on this one and he nails it. I highly recommend the album Symphony Or Damn. It’s his most fulfilled work to date.

8. Jay-Z | Never Change
Back to Rap again. This song is Kanye’s first known appearance on record (he raps on the hook). He samples David Ruffins’ classic Common Man. In steps the God MC riffing on his origins and why he is who he is. This was the album that really turned me on to the Jigga Man. Hip Hop is highly competitive and we will always feud over who’s the greatest MC. I’m hedging my bets on this man. When he says he’s the best you truly believe it and that’s all you can ask for. The introduction of the soulful vocal sample over Hip Hop beats was a brilliant idea. This reminds me of a time I myself was fearless.

9. Blood Orange | It Is What It Is 
Dude is the Funkiest mutha on the planet right now. I don’t know if it’s the kalimba riff or the filthy rhythm guitar that gets me going. It’s head-bobingly Funky. Samantha Urbani sounds wonderful on the chorus. It makes for an inspiring listen. That phrase never sounded so good.

10. Marvin Gaye | Sad Tomorrows
In the throes of addiction, Marvin Gaye conjures up this harrowing beauty. Probably the saddest Doo Wop song you’ll ever hear. It covers his futile efforts to shake off, what he called, The boy who makes slaves out of men. You honestly feel like you understand his plight, addict or otherwise. It’s just a brilliant piece, all of 2:23. There was never a singer more vulnerable sounding than Marvin. He just knew how to let it all out. That’s an unbelievably powerful gift and, to think, this song never made his seminal album What’s Going On... I can relate to a lot of his struggles/concerns, so his Music is a great refuge for me.

SIDE B | by James Robertson

1. Jacob’s Stories | Old Swimmers 
The fact that Jacob’s Stories (now producing music as Stuart Warwick), isn’t playing to thousands of adoring fans around the world, and instead serves hotdogs to cinema-goers in Brighton, more or less sums up everything that’s wrong with the Music Industry. After hearing his music through a friend a decade ago, I went to one of Stuart’s gigs in a shitty pub – the Fenton in Leeds – and we’ve been firm friends ever since. He has one of the most haunting voices I’ve ever heard, so powerful and delicate. This track is from his first album, Fledgling (there’s something great about first albums). In many ways, Stuart’s best songs are ones that provide a minimal musical-platform for his voice. If someone gave me a few thousand pounds for a musical project, I’d fill a church with microphones, a piano and Stuart. I’m convinced it’d be one of the greatest albums ever recorded.

2. Author | Roman (feat. Quark)
It would be fair to say that until I met Chris and Dom from Submotion Orchestra I had fairly limited experience of frequencies under 50hrz. I first heard this tune at the start of a mix Dom (Ruckspin) did for Rob Booth’s Electronic Explorations, which finally ended up being included in the second Author album, Forward Forever. It totally sucked me in. There were lots of elements that were familiar to me: atmospheric guitar, space and pushed rhythms. But all the power came from this bass. This prompted a real shift in my song writing. Where I’d previously relied on distorted guitars for dynamics, I began to use sub bass.

3. Keith Jarrett | Part I (The Köln Concert)
So the story goes, Keith Jarrett turned up to do a show without his piano. The one on this amazing recording was the house piano, which he just starts playing, jamming, to get a feel for the instrument and work out how in-tune it is. There’s something about that sense of exploration that comes through really strongly in the improvisation, and although, apparently, Keith didn’t think it was his best work, it never ceases to move me – oh, and it’s also the best dinner music ever.

4. The Cinematic Orchestra | All Things 
One of the best gigs I’ve seen was Cinematic Orchestra performing their full Man With A Movie Camera album along to the film at All Tomorrow’s Parties, I forget which year. It was early, they were the first band on that Sunday; everyone was hung-over and blazed – watching it was like being submersed in a synesthetic flotation tank. There’s now very few lazy Sunday mornings/afternoons when this album isn’t spun to provide the same audio nourishment. All Things is the final track, an amazing conclusion to an incredible album. Just the way the 4/4 beat drops over what feels like a swung 6/8 intro loop is typical of how both technically and emotionally satisfying the album is – and why, for me, it’ll never get old.

5. Enablers | For Jack: Philippic 
Good lyrics are increasingly rare for several types of Modern Music. The lyrics written by Enablers’ vocalist Pete Simeon are the antidote to this absence of Meaning. Though probably written first as poems, they also really work with the music, the songs sounds like Alan Ginsberg jamming with Slint. This particular tune reminds me of a particularly hedonistic summer a few years ago, particularly the line like propped up on cocktails that would have a pharmacy scratching its head. There’s something about that San Francisco, beat-poet, warm-but-dark vibe that fully appeals.

6. Kanye West | I’m In It 
First off this is a great composition, to go through three such distinct Music movements in less than four minutes – and for it to work so well as whole is incredible song writing. However, the main reason I’m including this is because Ade and I have been known to start dancing and singing it at bus stops around East London. The last time it happened we got chatting to a whole bunch of different people, one guy commented how the dancing strangely fitted to the screaming Death Metal he was listening to on his headphones. Now whenever I listen to the tune it reminds me of that night and makes me smile.

7. Talk Talk | Eden 
Talk Talk and Mark Hollis came at a time in my life when I’d learnt to write and play the most difficult, complicated Music I could imagine and was wondering what to do next. There’s a great interview with Hollis when he basically challenges you to remove any notes or chords that aren’t entirely necessary to the song: it’s a great lesson to learn. To be honest, I could have chosen any of the tunes from Talk Talk’s Spirit Of Eden or Laughing Stock. All the songs on Mark Hollis’ solo album The Colour Of Spring are also amazing. I listened to all these a lot when I first moved from Leeds to London. Being in London meant not having space to keep several large instruments or space to rehearse with a band, it was in these musical and physical limitations that Equals was born.

8. Tool | Eulogy
Listening to Tool almost exclusively for three years was an education in rhythm. Before these guys I pretty much only thought Music was played in 4/4. In many ways, Eulogy is more straight forward than some of their other stuff. Having said that, Tool pretty much made their entire career based on ripping off of the riff from the end of Larks' Tongues In Aspic (Part II) by King Crimson, but this song is also special as it's so clearly influenced by another of my heroes, Bill Hicks. I went to a night recently marking 20 years since Bill Hick’s death and was lucky enough to meet his family. It was extremely moving, a mix of wake and comedy gig.

9. Low | Murderer 
Low, like and Mark Hollis and Tool, taught me a lot about making a big sound with minimal instruments and parts: the importance of Space and Silence in Music. However the main reason why Low are so amazing is the vocal harmonies. I challenge anyone to listen to the bridge that starts with the line Don’t act so innocent and not feel… Something. Especially live, when it is positively crushing. It’s definitely Music to fall in Love falling in Love to. So it's not just that I share a name with Low, that they will always have a special place in my heart.

10. Mykki Blanco | Haze.Boogie.Life
Hip Hop has to be one of the misogynistic scenes in the world, I say scenes because I want to include not just Music scenes but Sports scenes, industries, the lot. The fact that Queer Rap artists like Mykki can exist and play with/challenge this prevailing misogyny is great. In Mykki’s music, “bitch” refers not to a subjugated women but himself, appearing in his videos in dresses, miming anal sex one minute then rocking the mic in jeans and a T-shirt in the back of a car with his homies the next.The music is not as well as this but as part of this is all the better. This is another example of the fact that, regardless of the genre, less is more – Mykki’s lyrics over simple bass and kick hits with a few bleeps thrown in as icing on the cake that no one is going to make Anna Mae eat. Love it.