It’ll be up shortly, but what the hell, here’s my latest article up on AWMusic.ca
To me, making a tape is like writing a letter — there’s a lot of erasing and rethinking and starting again. A good compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do. You’ve got to kick off with a corker, to hold the attention (I started with “Got to Get You Off My Mind”, but then realized that she might not get any further than track one, side one if I delivered what she wanted straightaway, so I buried it in the middle of side two), and then you’ve got to up it a notch, or cool it a notch, and you can’t have white music and black music together, unless the white music sounds like black music, and you can’t have two tracks by the same artist side by side, unless you’ve done the whole thing in pairs and…oh, there are loads of rules.
-Nick Hornby, High Fidelity
After a bit of a hiatus that involved family deaths, broken hearts and unemployed grief, I’m back to writing for this thing because damn it, I have things to SAY. Expect some stuff in the future consisting of horror indie bands, Japanese Hot String and maybe something steampunky. But for now I want to talk about the concept of “mix tape”.
I know that this subject has been brought up before, but let’s try to look at things a bit differently. Frankly I’m surprised that I’m still hearing gripes about this subject.
“The mix tape is dead.” is pretty much the main thing you hear at parties/concerts/any kind of social setting where the topic of music nowadays is brought up amongst anyone who enjoys music. The reasons for why it is dead are always brought up. I’ll spare the rant, but just say that the general view is that with cassettes you could put your HEART into it, man. You could make something completely personal, almost handcraft it, spending hours and hours picking the right songs and the right order and putting it on to the tape and then experiencing the sheer excitement of decorating the cover and tape yourself. Silver spray paint? Sure! Glitter? Damn right! And I would consider you inept if you didn’t draw a picture of a moose.
So the big view is that “you can’t do that nowadays” which let’s face it, is total bullshit. Some people have said that CDs lack that personal touch, but for every person that says that, there are at least two who listen to every single song before they put it anywhere near the tracklist, all the while keeping that person in mind. And for every person that just makes the same CD for their friends, there are two who make one and only one copy and delete the tracklist (while possibly keeping a playlist on their computer so they could think of the person they sent it to).
And anyway, who said that mix tapes have to be personal? One of the great things about music is that it brings people together and that can lead to some incredibly interesting projects with complete strangers found on the internet. Take The Post-Apocalyptic 8tracks Project I started up several months ago. Went on to a forum, created a thread stating a theme (in this case, anything post-apocalyptic), gave them the link to 8tracks along with the account name and password and let them loose. 19 post-apocalyptic mixes were created and we’ve accumulated up to 52 followers with countless people who don’t have accounts listening. A large number of random people putting together a mix based on one central theme can come up with some mind-blowing music that you’ve never heard before. You might want the song and can get it through the use of DownloadHelper (Which officially I should say you should never ever use because it is stealing). From there you can look the artist up and before you know it you might have a new favorite artist.
Anyways, the point I’m trying to make is that The Mix Tape is far from dead. The cassette isn’t around anymore, but CDs and the internet are powerful tools and can contain limitless possiblities. If you want to make something personal for that special someone, the fact that you have to use a CD will in no way take away the personal feeling and the touching knowledge that someone cared enough to create a special mix with specifically them in mind just for them. And if you want to discover new music, by all means start or take part in a project similar to the one I mentioned above. Do it on a forum, with your friends, or whatever you want. Use 8tracks or just upload them all on to a free file hosting site. Hell, when it starts up again take part in m3p3, an amazing livejournal audio penpal community. I don’t really how you do it, just go out there and discover some amazing fucking music.
Now here’s some music that I have received in mixes from some random audio mix projects I’ve been a part of.
Gogol Bordello – Never Want To Be Young Again
Odd Nosdam – We Bad Apples
Hello Saferide – The Quiz
Bodies Of Water – Dear Boy (Paul and Linda McCartney