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I have my wifi password tattooed on my body for some reason

Plus: 2022 mix enclosed

Black screen with white text that says (in closed-caption style) "You ok? - [Buddy] Never better."

Well, it’s been almost a whole year since my last post where I declared “Hello World” on this newsletter, and them promptly left it to just sit there and collect dust.

Rather than pontificating too much as to whyyyyyyyy I didn’t send out more than one newsletter last year, I’m going to declare it a new year and move on.

New year, new mix

I’ve really come to enjoy this annual tradition, where I use the downtime of the end-of-year holidays to put together a mix of songs that I liked that were released in the last year. It’s a surprisingly labor intensive endeavor… for instance, this year I started from a list of 412 “favorited” songs, 148 of which were released in 2022.

For the mix, I try to get down to about 50 songs, and so in the process of whittling, I get to listen to 11 hours or more of music from the year. There are some tracks on the initial list that I’ve only listened to once, where a re-listen isn’t that meaningful, but some of these songs I’ve listened to a ton over the year (“Admit It (U Don’t Want 2)” by Fred again.. & India Jordan clocked in with more than 30 listens).

As I narrow the list down, I also take note of each track’s BPM (beats per minute) and key while try to practice “active listening” — and with each listen, I get to remember little things that happened over the year… like our trip to Fort Myers Beach in Florida; or when we rented a wood-fired mobile sauna for our back yard; or how much Carter enjoyed living life outside, catching mice and climbing onto the roof of our garage; or the multiple bouts of Covid; or the trip to the ER while I (unknowingly) passed a kidney stone; or getting to meet new babies; or celebrating birthdays; or driving to Mankato; or going to the Boundary Waters with my sister… it’s amazing how music can pull you back in space and time.

Then comes the hard part: making sense of this collection of meaningful noise. It’s usually a little overwhelming at first… I’ll listen to the start of every song trying to pick out where the mix should start, how it might flow, where it should peak… Luckily, groupings eventually emerge naturally, and thematically sounds start to make sense together. I can’t say that I fully understand yet how to “make a mix” because it still feels like luck each time I stumble into song pairings that make sense, let alone whole phrases.

I usually have it 90% mapped out in a playlist before I actually start putting it together. And after I actually buy each track, I pull each song into Ableton, layer them together, loop certain sections, play with the equalizer, adjust the tempo, and hope it all works. Some transitions are so easy, so smooth, that it’s literally just a fade from one song to the next. Most of the time, though, it takes some creative problem solving to figure out how to get from one song to the next. Sometimes I rearrange a song slightly, playing the outro before the intro. Sometimes I’ll include the whole song, sometimes just one verse. This time I had fun removing Ye’s verse on a Cardi B’s “Hot Shit” because he really didn’t add anything of substance to the track and I didn’t want to feature him.

It’s a marathon. I get so lost in this project, in a way that I don’t get lost in much else. Time will disappear. Minutes turn into hours turn into evenings turn into entire nights (which sometimes turn into wee morning hours). But it is so worth it, and by the end I feel reconnected to the year as it’s ending and excited about the year that is to come. That feeling bolsters me into putting it out there, pushing me past the sheepishness I feel posting about my amateurish hobbies, because even if it’s not perfect, it is still a representation of me; a representation of where I’m at today and the year that I’ve had to get here.

I am not a DJ, this is not my job, and I barely even know what it is that I’m doing. But I do think that each year the mixing gets a little better. For instance, this year I think that I did a better job making the transitions between tracks quicker and less messy (metaphor??). Turns out, not everything needs to be a 25 minute fade! There are still a few rough areas, blah blah blah another metaphor, life, blah blah blah…

Without further ado, here’s it is… a 3 hour mix of 53 different songs released in 2022 that I liked. 3 hours! There’s so much jammed into this MP3 file.

I would prefer if you listened to the mixed version, but if you want the playlist, here it is on Apple Music and Spotify (the Spotify list doesn’t include the ‘Apple Exclusive’ and very excellent cover of Mos Def’s “UMI Says” by 6LACK).

Below is the tracklist presented in 8 parts, and scroll to the end for recommendations of other projects my friends launched last year that I think you should check out.

Great Tracks from 2022

A brick building with a lot of peeling paint. Text on image says "Great Tracks from 2022"

Part 1

Did the year start out chaotic for everyone else? Or was that just me…

  • Chaos Energy - Daniel Avery, Kelly Lee Owens & HAAi (2022)

  • Days of Past - O.N.O (2022)

  • Ghosts - Two Shell (2022)

  • Rave I Didn't Know Was the Last - Bop & Subwave (2022)

  • darjeeling (feat jorja smith & unknown t) - FKA twigs (2022)

  • Wait Too Long (feat. Blxst) - Buddy (2022)

  • The Roman - Joey Pecoraro (2022)

Part 2

Turns out I like drum n bass. And this Armani White song is my “First Class” moment.

  • Disappointment Riddim - Winslow (2022)

  • Strangers (feat. A$AP Rocky and Run The Jewels) - Danger Mouse & Black Thought (2022)

  • Dis One (feat. Chimpo & Sl8r) - Slay (2022)

  • Techy - Halogenix & Chimpo (2022)

  • War Drum Riddim - Degs & Hugh Hardie (2022)

  • BILLI (feat. Future) - EARTHGANG (2022)

  • Hot Shit - Cardi B, Kanye West & Lil Durk (2022)

  • BILLIE EILISH. - Armani White (2022)

Part 3

Have a good time, have the time of your life.

  • Pax (Four Tet Remix) - Chloe Robinson & DJ ADHD (2022)

  • Admit It (U Don't Want 2) - Fred again.. & India Jordan (2022)

  • Purple Jelly Disc - HAAi & Obi Franky (2022)

  • Vocoder - Floating Points (2022)

  • pinky ring - Joy Orbison (2022)

  • Sticky - Drake (2022)

Part 4

  • In the Place - Galcher Lustwerk (2022)

  • Age of Phase - Bonobo (2022)

  • There is Nothing Like - Jennifur (2022)

  • Always - yehno (2022)

Part 5

I started an anti-depressant again this year, and it has had such a positive impact. I feel like I climbed out of a hole that I knew I was in but I didn’t realize how deep it was until I found myself at the top of it looking back down. It was deep.

  • Serotonin Moonbeams - The Blessed Madonna (2022)

  • Da Fonk (feat. Joni) - Mochakk (2022)

  • Lazy LLOUNGE (feat. Alio & Lexer) - Fūji (2022)

  • Deep Gone Far - Anja Schneider (2022)

  • Don't You Give Up On Me - Joshua Idehen (2022)

  • Star City - Solomon Fesshaye (2022)

  • Cloudy - Daphni (2022)

Part 6

  • Fragments - Long Island Sound (2022)

  • This Time, This Place… - Röyksopp & Beki Mari (2022)

  • Brokheimer (Renato Cohen Remix) - Luke Brancaccio & Gai Barone (2022)

Part 7

I am obsessed with this 3LW flip (if you know, you know).

  • KILL DEM - Jamie xx (2022)

  • Jungle (Rico Nasty Remix) - Fred again.. (2022)

  • Looking at Your Pager - KH (2022)

  • Reflection - Goldie, James Davidson, Subjective & LaMeduza (2022)

  • No Negativity - Crate Classics & Pesolife (2022)

  • New Day - GLXY (2022)

  • Girl Problems - Stillhead (2022)

  • In Your Eyes (feat. slowthai & Danny Brown) - Mount Kimbie & Dom Maker (2022)

  • Surround Sound (feat. 21 Savage & Baby Tate) - JID (2022)

  • No End (feat. Supreme Sol) - Handbook (2022)

Part 8

Here’s that Mos Def cover that you shouldn’t miss, and also the third Fred Again.. track in this mix.

  • UMI Says - 6LACK (2022)

  • Angel - DJ Python (2022)

  • Heaven Is Where You Are (Bendik HK Edit) - Pantha du Prince (2022)

  • lOnDn - EMBRZ (2022)

  • Danielle (smile on my face) - Fred again.. (2022)

  • Beings of Light - Fort Romeau (2022)

  • Private Paradise - Space Ghost (2022)

  • Halfway Out - Viggo Dyst (2022)

Other things to check out

  • Bridget has an amazing occasional newsletter (Tus Heridas) that she writes, and she truly grew its wisdom and beauty this year. We also made her a website!

  • My bud Paul posts a doodle almost every night, they’re so cool: Doodle.zone

  • Paul also streams on Twitch almost every Saturday, making 3D art which is also cool. I usually watch and heckle from the comments.

  • My friends Toni (Comma Symbol) and Ruth (What’s in a word) both have their own newsletters, both introspective and thought provoking.

  • Jake had a very cute kid (shout out to Wes and Laurel) this year and also illustrated a graphic novel. His Instagram is full of amazing illustrations.

  • Bridget and her sister made this really special graphic story about spiritual healing.

  • Speaking of Chorizo Baby, check out all of her other prolific artwork.

  • Lonely Robot also released an excellent mixes, most recently one called ‘pine’ and it’s available on Apple Music and Spotify.

  • I really enjoyed this recent Misplaced Elle mix (f​▲​✝​H​Σ​r F​Ø​Ɽ​GiVΣ mΣ) (talk about another cute kid+momma), which is where I got the term “First Class moment".

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No, I’m just kidding. But I did want to take a second to say that I’ve stopped using Twitter, and I mostly only use Instagram to look at cat meme’s that B shares. If you want to connect with me, text me, and I’ve started using Mastodon (@[email protected]) and if you want help signing up for Mastodon, I’m happy to share with you what [little] I know. I’m also trying out BeReal.