Weekly Rewind: Everything starts on paper, how Grandmaster Flash created the drum break, the future of work, and more

I spent last week in the Dominican Republic, going through bottles of sun lotion and bug spray. I sauntered, strolling through the Punta Cuna beaches listening to N.E.R.D's first record and while coincidentally, stumbling upon an MTV-inspired foam party (see above). It felt like college all over again. 

This newsletter also marks the 100th edition of my SoundCloud weekly playlist, so I made sure to span a few genres including electronica, folk, hip-hop, and world. Scroll down to peep. – WRB

 1. Everything starts on paper

“As with music, so with thought: when you want clarity, you seek out paper. Paper is the slow food of thought.”

2. Grandmaster Flash explains how he created the drum break

“I came from a scientific approach. Once I came up with the queuing, the proper needle, the “wafer,” duplicate copies of records, the mixer, which I had to rebuild, I was able to take a 10-second drumbeat and make it seamlessly 10 minutes.”

3. The future of work

“It is disappointing to think that we’d have to create make-work for people, but it may be the hard truth.”

4. A world that runs on algorithms

“In the US, some 72% of CVs are never seen by human eyes.”

5. This history behind he modern definition of average

“Belgian astronomer/mathematician Adolphe Quetelet discovered what we now know today as the ‘average’ when he aggregated the mean chest size of five thousand Scottish soldiers.”

6. Why everyone should blog

“Everyone should write a blog, every day, even if no one reads it. There’s countless reasons why it’s a good idea and I can’t think of one reason it’s a bad idea.”

7. Real or fake? How to identify the authenticity of online photos 

“it’s not uncommon for an image to appear on social media claiming to be of a crowd in a recent protest, but reverse image searches then reveal that the image was actually taken in a completely different city years earlier.”

8. A zibaldone was a 14th-century scrapbook

“Some media scholars argue that commonplace books and zibaldones were precursors to the Internet, which is similarly scrappy and mixed-up, rich in influences and perfectly willing to zig-zag between genres.”

9. Gardening the brain with a good night’s rest

“Your brain cleans itself out when you sleep—your brain cells shrinking by up to 60% to create space for your glial gardeners to come in take away the waste and prune the synapses.”

10. What's the point of university? 

“undergraduate degrees have no value to society: they enable employers to pay higher wages to smarter workers, but lower wages to everyone else — and in order to enjoy these higher wages, smart people must waste time and money going to the trouble of acquiring a degree.”

11. How to use ‘temptation building’ to get things done

“only watch your favorite show while you’re in the gym. Once you leave the gym, you’re left wondering what happens next in that show. The only way to find out (that is, if you stick to the plan) is to reward yourself with the next episode while you’re on the treadmill.”

New Music


  1. Shadow Child and Bodhi – Um
  2. Madeline Kenney That's Us/Wild Combination (Arthur Russell cover)
  3. Trim – Before I Lied
  4. James Vanish – Booth (this one's for Fabric London)
  5. Raffaela Renzulli – Asking Eyes


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Published by Wells Baum

A daily blogger who connects the dots between arts and life.