lettre #003 edition: restlessness

Lettre

Written by Jan & Felix

August 24, 2020

Bonjour!

Here comes issue three of our newsletter – not quite in July anymore. But there you go. We had the idea to write a monthly newsletter about a topic and some music at the beginning of 2020. Was that a good idea? We hesitated about it for a moment when we realized that it was already time deliver emails. But then we reread our last issue and your responses to it and suddenly all doubts were gone. We are very happy about every word and are still curious to hear from you whether you enjoyed it. If you liked it: Please recommend us to others. Costs nothing, but always gives us great pleasure (to have new names on the list).

2020, a really exciting year that has only recently reached the half-time mark and is quite challenging. We are very curious to see what else is coming. In June we asked ourselves how we live, where we live and where we flee to when everything becomes too much for us. You can find our last issue on the topic of city escape here. We also found out, or rather challenged you to „Get out on the streets and do something“, nobody will solve problems if we don’t take action. Is it time for unrest? We think: Yes, if it comes down to it, keep disturbing. Otherwise, in our fast-paced times, the opposite is probably true: calmness is a luxury.

So here comes a good portion of restlessness. Voilà. Good music is of course also included (further down and in the newsletter playlist) and at the end you might find your peace. Whether it’s all inside or listening to it in a warm summer night when everything gets quieter. Please keep the restlessness! Have fun!

Focus.

We live in a world of unrest. And we probably let ourselves be driven and stimulated by this restlessness every day, but we also get nervous. This far seems certain, the rest is not quite clear. What is calm? When the window is closed and the delivery traffic outside is a little quieter? How do you find peace and silence if it is not enough to simply close the window? And why is unrest sometimes much more exciting and sometimes even necessary?

First of all, let us try to circumscribe the term restlessness for ourselves. Restlessness is an ambivalent something. We can gain energy from it, restlessness can drive us to new places, it can help us to try new things and to reinvent ourselves or the world. On the other hand, restlessness is often an unwanted companion, stress comes unasked for and remains stubbornly on our necks. We do not want to judge restlessness categorically. It seems too easy to ascribe a value in the form of good or evil to restlessness. As so often we notice: It’s complicated.

For many, it sometimes seems, a pinch of restlessness is part of life, a certain background noise that seems to make life worth living. Or have many only forgotten what peace is, and that it too can have its justified use? For better or worse, one must learn to mediate between tranquility and its antagonist, restlessness. Finding the right filter to put on our effervescent, roaring and chaotic world. We often notice that we live in a society that rewards the bearing of restlessness and treats the retreat into calm as weakness. We should resist this more often. Just pull the plug once in a while. We have taken this to heart, which is why this newsletter is sent out so late. But first let’s continue with some music.

Music N°1

Since we often write about music, we quickly thought of jazz when we were thinking about restlessness. Is there a genre that in its many facets fits better to the topic of restlessness? I don’t think so. That’s probably one of the reasons why many young people find it difficult to find an approach to jazz. Instead, some find what they are looking for in Robin Schulz or Lady Gaga – that promises security in a restless, volatile world. Nevertheless, we would like to share a little bit of jazz music at this point, starting with a wonderfully restless piece by Jutta Hipp. She studied painting in Germany, but then played jazz during the Second World War, even though jazz was too restless for the Nazis. Later, she fled from the East German occupation zone to Munich, because it was difficult with jazz there as well.

In the West, more jazz had arrived in small basement clubs due to American influence, and so Jutta Hipp played piano, recorded with Hans Koller and finally landed as one of the first women and whites on the big label Blue Note. It was there that the album with Almost Like Being In Love on it, namely Jutta Hipp with Zoot Sims (Blue Note, 1956), was recorded. With it she became an appearance in the Federal Republic of Germany and was probably quite well-known. Part of the restless life of this exciting musician is also her sudden end of her career and the shift back to painting and design. Something became too much for her. She didn’t like the big gigs, suppressed stage fright apparently with alcohol and wrote friends again and again that the real jazz could be only found in small clubs.

I can only agree with this from my Paris time, the atmosphere in a sweaty cellar full of sound and people (unfortunately unthinkable today) is unique. I hope that the numerous clubs in Paris and New York (and elsewhere) will somehow survive this, because jazz still has a particularly hard time. Because it keeps restlessness? Is complicated, like our now? In any case, very fascinating.

To-Do and To-Go.

In our everyday life we constantly write to-do lists. After all, we have a lot to do and that is expected of us. Most likely, the restlessness we experience has only partly to do with the noise of the city, but rather stems from our urge to live the perfect life and, maybe even more important, to communicate this to the outside world. Do we live in a society that prefers those who can tolerate as much unrest as possible? We live in a high-performance society, so there is little time to take a deep breath. We have to do that to-go. Too bad that the coffee To-go in the subway is really big shit. Not only because of the disposable cup, but also because it robs coffee of its culture. „If you don’t have time to be at the place where you serve coffee or drinks or snacks, think about your life.“ The pursuit of the (apparently) practical all too often leads to restlessness. Why is that? Is there no sense in calm? Why don’t we search for the essential more often?

Unser Blick: Ruhiges Meer im Sommer, 2020

Music N°2

No matter what you read about Fiona Apple’s album released earlier this year, it was always euphoric. We can only agree with that and have already voted it the soundtrack of the week. A great restless album, brutal and beautiful. This music fits perfectly to this newsletter, because it carries this nonconformity in itself. No song comes along without a bit of scrubbing or rhythmic breaks. „A strange, exceptional record,“ the Guardian wrote.

We don’t want to try to add anything to the numerous praise hymns here and leave it to you to familiarize yourself with a few hand-picked lyrics.

— Under The Table —
I’d like to buy you a pair of pillow-soled hiking boots
To help you with your climb
Or rather, to help the bodies that you step over, along your route
So they won’t hurt like mine
Kick me under the table all you want
I won’t shut up
 
— Cosmonauts —
You and I will be like a couple of cosmonauts
Except with way more gravity than when we started off
 
— Newspaper —
Oh, I too, used to want him to be proud of me
And then I just wanted him to make amends
I wonder what lies he’s told you about me
To make sure that we’ll never be friends
 
— Fetch the Bolt Cutters —
I grew up in the shoes they told me I could fill
Shoes that were not made for running up that hill
And I need to run up that hill, I need to run up that hill
I will, I will, I will, I will, I will

Meditation.

My health insurance company gives me a meditation app for free for one year and already I am saved from a burn-out. Whatever we observe: For modern city dwellers (including us?) the quest for peace and quiet often ends in a convulsive search for the inner self and for constant balance or occasional escape from the city. Soft voices from our smartphones are meant to motivate us for our morning meditation session. For only 19.99€ per month! All in the name of slowing down. In a largely senseless world of indispensable growth and the necessary more and more, it becomes quite demanding to find peace. Most of the time we have to pay for it.

Newsletter schreiben in der Hitze, 2020

Music N°3

My cousin T keeps posting good music on his Instagram account, or more precisely, he puts on records in his story that he likes. That’s also how I found out about this cool album, which is great for hot summer days. At the beginning of the track there are sounds from loudspeakers of the fictitious spaceship: (in german) „Welcome! We are happy to have you on board. Enjoy your stay and have a relaxing trip.“ A wild odyssey follows, from funky to relaxed, everything is included. T has a great taste in music and I am impressed by the number of records he must have by now. It’s nice that he puts them on for us every now and then.

Fenster zu, Unruhe raus, Berlin, 2020

Peace & Parmegiana.

We can say that we have found peace in the last weeks. Swimming in the Adriatic Sea in the morning or preparing a Parmegiana together (recipe). Try it out! The eggplant is the vegetable of rest, because those who lose patience in preparing it have no chance of success.

The recipe is even easier than the link above. For 4-6 people, roughly peel 4-5 large aubergines (the skin is sometimes very hard) and cut them into slices about 8 mm thick. Dry in the oven at high temperature for about 45 minutes without salt and oil until the slices have a solid browning. In the meantime put on a tomato sauce: Boil down good tomatoes from two cans (we like Mutti) with garlic, pepper salt without all too much stirring to a creamy Sugo. It should not be too watery at the end. Slice the mozzarella (maybe about 3-4) packs, grate the Parmesan (Parmegiano Regiano) and prepare it. Then you still need breadcrumbs. The best breadcrumbs are those that you have made yourself from old white bread. We then put aubergine, sugo, a few leaves of basil, mozzarella, breadcrumbs and parmesan in an oiled dish. The last layer closes with eggplant, breadcrumbs and a little more parmesan. Then put the Parmegiana in the oven at 160 degrees for at least 45 minutes and wait until the ingredients in its core melt into a creamy, spicy unity. Bon appetit!

Sincerely

Felix & Jan

Music N°4

A feedback from the lovely E to our last newsletter was related to Angèle. E wished for even more pop. Of course we can fulfill this wish. At this point we would like to present you another King of Pop: Tom Misch. He was our 30th soundtrack of the week, 2016, back then we wrote with wit: „Good mixes. Mr. Misch we count among the most promising newcomers from the island, which has just left the European community of states“. Had we known how long the Brexit would still be stretched! Tom Misch is a multi-talent and, roughly at the same age as us, can be a composer, guitarist, violinist, singer-songwriter, producer and DJ all in one. Most of the time this goes thoroughly wrong, but in this case you have to certify it: this man can play music. But now he is not alone and not so poppy anymore, sorry. He also plays and produces with many exciting musicians like Loyle Carner or the drummer Yussef Dayes.

After his somewhat overpolished debut album, What Kinda Music brings a glimmer of hope. As a pair, Dayes and Misch bring out the best in each other. Where the debut was almost too clean, What Kinda Music is blended with the depth and darkness of Dayes‘ rhythms, which balances Misch’s pitch-perfect vocals. This is especially true on „Tidal Wave“, where Dayes‘ drum rolls form a counterpoint to Misch’s multi-layered vocals. We know Yussef Dayes from his previous band project Yusseff Kamaal (SdW#178) and also solo (SdW #160) as an exciting drummer. The Independent in England writes about Dayes‘ playing: „Every note seems to be triggered by an electric shock – you never know for sure if he plays drums or the drums are playing him. He works tirelessly and with enormous sensitivity.“ We already wrote about the special experience of listening to whole albums again in the first newsletter, here you have the opportunity again.

La fin.

This was our third newsletter. We hope you enjoyed it. We are happy about feedback, possible recommendation, and also about new subscriptions. In fact, no one else will know about this newsletter because we do not run any ads. So it remains only your recommendation. As the saying goes: Subscribe now. The email to the lettre is newsletter@kollektivindividualismus.de. By the way, you can also check out our website. Nice place to hang out at. As always: Stay tuned.

Bildcredits: © Felix Vieg © Jazzwax  © Felix Vieg © Felix Vieg © Felix Vieg


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