Who doesn’t absolutely love a compilation cassette. The over-35s amongst us will fondly remember a time when making compilation tapes for friends and wannabe-more-than-friends was a glorious labour of love. Choosing just the right tracks (perhaps some hidden messages to the recipient in the choice of track names?)… deciding on the order (party bangers first, smoochy numbers, big finish)… trying to work out the timings so it would all fit exactly on a C90 … inevitably getting the maths wrong and ending up cutting off the end of your grand finale guilty pleasure song (probably Madonna) … getting the tape stuck in the machine and having to spool it back in using the end of your biro (the struggle was real) … painstakingly writing out the song and artist names on the tiny inlay card (calligraphy pen or Letraset?) … and posting it to the lucky recipient, and sitting back and wondering whether they’ll have it playing on their walkman next time you see them. And if someone – someone you fancy – made a tape for you, oh my oh my. The hours to be spent listening, rewinding and listening again – we had a lot of time on our hands back then – analysing those special choices of songs. ‘Boom! Shake the Room’, followed by ‘Whoomp! There it is’ … they must really want to get off with you. ‘What’s Up?’, followed by ‘Anytime You Need a Friend’ … they truly are your bestie. Oh my analogue heart.
Back to the present day, and it’s delightful to see the digital youth still enjoying the romance of the cassette mixtape. Exquisitely evidenced in this new compilation put together by Lauren of the band Pot Pourri – ‘Love Letters’ is a 26 track mixtape out now via Bandcamp, with all proceeds going towards the important work done by activists Sisters Uncut. Featuring tracks by LOUD WOMEN faves like Loose Articles, Rhiannon Scutt, PINS and the (now sadly ended) Jenny Moore’s Mystic Business – plus loads more new names to discover – this album should 100% be on your Bandcamp Friday shopping list today. The comp comes on a beautifully packaged cassette through your actual letter box, and also as a digital download.
Lauren told us more about the ideas behind the project:
“I guess sending a love letter was a classic way of communicating our deep appreciation for the people involved with Sisters Uncut. The lockdown meant that a fundraiser gig couldn’t take place but we could still contribute and act in a different way to fight the rollback of human rights. The cassette is full to the brim of artists who wanted to send love and gratitude to the people working tirelessly to end violence against women and non-binary people. Their graft couldn’t go unnoticed and we felt that if there was a way we could use our art to stand in solidarity, we would.
“I wanted the cassette to reflect the Sister Uncut feministo, reaching out to female and gender-variant artists who themselves are creating gorgeous music with a DIY ethos and building their own pockets of togetherness. It was a blessing to connect with fellow bands, especially when bands haven’t been crossing paths for the last year, and together support a movement we feel so dearly about. Everyone who contributed to the cassette condemns the violence, which to our dismay, seems fundamental to the function of our criminal justice system.
“Sisters Uncut have catalysed a current of empowerment! They’ve created accessibility for people to come together, find the confidence to open dialogue and express their right to be free and equal citizens. Following and using their resources has brought me closer to the possibility of a safer world. It is amazing to see progress when organisations come together and build a movement that empowers people and allows them to understand what true equality is. The Kill The Bill coalition established consciousness of the danger against Roma, Traveller, and Gypsy communities, and unveiled the increase of tools of state violence against communities that already bear the brunt of a racist, sexist criminal justice system. Critics of the Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts Bill have also pointed out that the 10-year maximum jail term introduced under the bill for people who criminally damage a statue is more than many men get for sexually assaulting or raping a woman.
“With this in mind, our fear is daily being reinforced by gendered violence on Britain’s streets. Since the tragic death of Sarah Everard 6 months ago, 78 more women have been murdered. The recent murder of Sabrina Nessa is harrowing. No person should be unsafe to make a five-minute journey to meet a friend. This erosion of safety threatens all communities and causes serious detriment to the vulnerable. Sabina’s death comes in the wake of the Conservative government’s report on violence against women and girls. Many critics have expressed that access to justice is still staggeringly low and the report has failed women of colour.
“I’m joining the voices of women and non-binary people who witness the police and the criminal justice system miss many opportunities to act boldly. Surely the focus needs to lie with protecting our people rather than using this new legislation to oppress civil liberties.
“From head to toe, the cassette balances a fine mix of contemporary music. I’m a big fan of all the bands on the tracklist so it feels incredibly special to have created this first compilation with their help. Connecting with some artists from overseas has strengthened the love and made plenty more room for hope. With this, I cant wait to curate another Love Letters compilation!”
You can find the Love Letters cassettes on Bandcamp