5 Records: Jam City

Some correspondence with Jack Latham that fell through the publishing cracks in 2012.

#1: Anita Baker - Rapture LP

Brendan: This was kind of Anita's breakthrough commercial release.What kind of feelings does it conjure?

Jack: This LP is what got played on my Dad's stereo, alongside Ronny Jordan, Sign O the Times, Pat Metheny when I was growing up so basically this is the music I fell asleep to when I was little. Everything is so tight on this record, the production, songwriting, her voice..."Been So Long" is my jam, it's comforting I guess but not just cos of the context, the whole thing is so soft and considered. To be able to make songs that just sort of center you...that is a gift.

Brendan: Have your musical consumption habits changed from when you were young?

Jack: How do I LISTEN to music now? I think it's really important, if you can, to give music that moves you the respect it deserves and listen it / feel it without doing anything else sometimes, just meditate on it.

#2: Andre 3000 - A Life In The Day of Benjamin Andre

Brendan: This is one of the most dissonant Andre tracks I've heard.

Jack: When I was a teenager me and my sisters used to go halves on cd's and this was one of the ones we bought and I used to listen to it obsessively, Not gonna lie The Love Below is pretentious as hell at times (dnb cover of my favourite things) but Pink N Blue / Prototype / She Lives in my lap are all perfection....but this track is just from another planet and haunts me in everything I do. Stripped back, eerie and sexy. Falling autumn leaves, still bumping, full on mystery music.

#3: Roll Deep - You Were Always

Brendan: Even though it starts with laughter, this track feels like it has a lot of melancholy and vulnerability to it.

Jack: There's probably about ten Roll Deep / Roll-Deep-affiliated songs that I fought not to put in here but you should probably just come to a show if you wanna hear those, so I thought I'd pick one that's not so well known. Even when MC's are being "macho" they are still vulnerable, that's something very special about Grime. Tinchy Stryder is about 13 in this.The SWV sample is special to me too, every time I hear SWV I think about the first ever Night Slugs rave in South when every other song you'd hear had a sample from SWV in it (the bassline years, lol) and it turns that reminds me of hearing "Weak" on the radio about 10 years before that, and then those soft DX7 chords take me back to my Dad playing all those records in the living room. All that happens at once for me in this song. "Far away-Far-Far Away".

Brendan: Why do you think grime occupies such a distinctly different cultural space than North American hip hop? Is there more to it than geography?

Jack: Grime and North American Hip Hop are cousins of course. That conversation across the Atlantic , you can hear it in the sounds, the space and the sense of humour of the instrumentals. Banging//Psychedelic//Banging.

#4: Deftones - Around The Fur

Brendan: This one caught me a bit by surprise.

Jack: Favourite band ever. My 14 year old self with long hair and eyeliner rocking this at school might have picked White Pony instead, but in retrospect I think I preferred them when Chino still rapped heavy. And I love it that they are still together. Bittersweet metal, sugary, sickly sweet metal.

Brendan: I wanted to ask about the concept of 'whispering' in music - on Around The Fur, tracks like "Rickets" and "Lhabia" have this hidden layer to them because of vocals being whispered or murmured. In a way, it reminds me of the layers of sound in some Classical Curves tracks - something like "How We Relate To The Body", which starts with this ambient background conversation that's present, but also incomprehensible.

Jack: The whispering is definitely a thing for me...whispering over crushing heaviness, that's the dichotomy I want to dedicate my life to communicating, and it all started here.

#5: The Cure - Plainsong / Coronation Scene from Marie Antionette

Brendan: You've matched this song with a scene from Sofia Coppola's film - why do they work together?

Jack: This is a distant cousin to "Day in the life"....I'm talking about S.T.R.I.N.G.S. My girlfriend showed me this movie and halfway through when this came on I had a heart attack. The pink smoke hanging over everyone in the throne room, just waiting, then it drops and it's just so slow. Molasses thick, distant LinnDrums, heart-wrenching ascending bassline, cannons exploding around you.