Though nobody could have guessed at the time, this would be the final record for Love Notes. One of my favorite labels and one of the best to emerge in the last half of the ’10s, Love Notes From Brooklyn released records sharing a common aesthetic — deep house and techno with a warm, analog feel — but subject to variation and the artistic interpretation of some of the scene’s leading lights. The label’s sound was something I vibed with and it frequently pulled me out of my shell. Later our mix series “Sanctify,” which is sort of my baby, was dreamt up to evoke the aesthetic that you hear on Love Notes’ records.
If you believe in something greater than flesh, blood and bone, I’m writing about this record because I was made to. The label came up in a Bandcamp rec exactly one year to the day that I read that founder Nathaniel Whelton (aka Nathaniel Jay) passed away. I remembered how much I loved getting these love notes from Love Notes and Nathaniel every few months. I realized that I played this, and a lot, yet never wrote about it unlike, I think, nearly every other track I came across from the label. They each inspired me, and this one did too, but for some reason I never got around to putting my thoughts down, either about this record or about how much I missed the label after it seemed to go dormant after 2020.
It’s one of those dumb things that we look upon with sadness after someone passes on. We cling to something to hold on to for security, something that feels more permanent than life — even if it’s regret.
Released a month into the pandemic but obviously recorded and almost certainly sent to the vinyl plant months before anyone knew what a coronavirus was, it must have been a bitter irony to read the title of this EP from Irish veteran Derek Carr. His appearance on Love Notes was totally in character for the label. Carr has a deep respect for the roots of techno — “Trio,” the lead track, is a shoutout to several of the Detroit godfathers — and it shows. You can’t help but to frame this record in the context of the label and its founder, and you wonder if life isn’t playing games by making the first words of Love Notes’ last record a shoutout to the beat mechanics and synth wizards from who it all stems.
Records shouldn’t age in three years and these tracks still feel refreshing, cleansing. “Leaving It Late” mimics the sound of wind in your ears. “Virus” evokes St. Vitus, the legendary Sicilian martyr whose followers celebrated his feast day with a dance that later lent its name to the involuntary spasms from neurological disorders. If you’re new to Love Notes, The Anti Virus is a beautiful record in a discography that’s gone dormant but still full of joy.
Nathaniel included poems with each “love note” sent out on vinyl by the label. The one on the sticker for “The Anti Virus” reads:
Not by victories
But by how firmly
You kept your chin up
Whilst getting your ass kicked.
I never got to say this Nathaniel, but you made this world a better place, even if it was just for a little while.
Derek Carr: The Anti Virus EP (Love Notes / 12″ Vinyl / May 2020)
1. Derek Carr: Trio (07:35)
2. Derek Carr: Leaving It Late (06:10)
3. Derek Carr: The Big Dog (07:46)
4. Derek Carr: Virus (06:41)
Disclosure Statement: This record was submitted as a promo a long, long time ago.
Love Notes Signs Ike Release for The Shape of Orbit (2020)
Tranquilized Dreams: Love Notes Drops The Outerzone from Nu-Cleo (2019)
Casey Tucker Returns to Love Notes with Alternative Faction (2018)
Free Shmoo! (2018)
Tape_Hiss: Cognitive Dissonance (2017)
Tape Hiss: In the Realms of the Unreal (2017)
The High Life: This was originally published in 5 Mag Issue #205 featuring Orlando Voorn, Mira Ló, Victor Simonelli, Carly Wilford, Maxime Dangles, Turbojazz and more. Help keep our vibe alive and our shine bright by becoming a member for $2/month and get every issue in your inbox right away!