Mixtapes and playlists are an essential part of a balanced music lifestyle. I’ve always believed that music is a contextual experience, and the slow, careful creation of a compilation can reveal deep relationships between songs. The relationships can be shallow, like putting Usher’s “Yeah!” next to Nina Sky’s “Move Your Body,” (both are recent dance songs); or deep, like Jurassic 5’s “React” next to Incubus’s “Battlestar Scralatchtica” (both feature talented turntable work by the DJs Cut Chemist and Nu-Mark).
But the real beauty behind the making and the receiving of a compilation tape is far beyond that of the songs itself. A good mixtape facilitates a wonderfully diverse type of communication, where each selected song sings its poetry within the context of a greater meaning.
Creating mix tapes was for me was an even of almost religious proportions. Long before cd’s. Long before mp3’s and the iPod we had the state of the art compact cassette. I remember using an ancient phonograph to play songs I dug and then record them through a condenser microphone to a tape player. Even before that my mother would bring home her real to real and we would splice together our own radio show.
Saturday or Sunday afternoons would be spent creating the ultimate mixes to share with friends. When “ghetto blasters” (what a horrendous term) became the norm creating mix tapes took on even greater importance as you then had the means of sharing your musical tastes on a great sounding portable. My musical listening revolved around mixes.
Somehow sharing a playlist doesn’t have the same impact as receiving a cassette in the mail that contains the efforts of an afternoon in front of the stereo.
The lost art of meaningful mixtapes – Daily Trojan – Lifestyle