1.22.2009

How to Make A Mix-Tape

They say that music soothes the savage beast. I don't think you can call me a savage-- beast maybe, but not a savage... but I agree that music can be soothing. It can also stir a lot of other emotions and feelings but right now I need it to be soothing. I have had a rough morning so I have put in my ear buds, kicked up my iTunes and I am going to hide under my desk, close my eyes and put everything else out of my mind for a few minutes...

There, that's better. It is pretty amazing how that works. Certain recordings can take you to happy places and better times in the same way that a picture can, or a smell or taste. All of our senses have the ability to affect us physically, mentally and emotionally, but music goes a step further by blocking out other distractions.

As a performer, I have had firsthand experience seeing how music can affect, effect and infect people. For some it may be a rock 'n roll song that "pumps them up", almost to a point of an aggressive frenzy. For others it may be a mellow ballad that makes them cry or a peppy pop tune that brings a smile to their face. Christian music and religious hymns can be very powerful, bringing the listener to their feet in a moment of joy and classical music or other genres can be very spiritual, as well, to some. It is very different for every person, but I think everyone has some degree of instinctual, internal rhythm that is keeping time to a song in their head.

Having dealt with many challenges with anxiety, I have a collection of songs categorized by attitude adjustments that they bring on. Music to help make me happy, relaxed, energized, concentrate or reflective is all grouped in different playlists on my computer. My calming tunes have even been burned to a series of CDs so I can listen to them in the car-- to prevent road rage or at the office-- to prevent work wage. I also have other song sets that I listen to if I want to get in the proper mood to do something like workout, mow the lawn or get romantical.

I love the idea of playlists because it reminds me of the mix-tapes that we used to make before the Internet age and the invention of the CD burner. A mix-tape is a group of songs recorded to cassette tape with the intention of reflecting the producer's chosen theme. Anyone could make them with very minimal equipment and with vinyl, 8-tracks, cassettes or even compact discs but a true mix-tape artist would toil hours-upon-hours to get the best possible reproduction of the perfect, 60-minute, combination of tracks.

Mix-tapes have been around since the early 1970s when compact cassettes were made readily available to the public and hit their peak in the 80s and 90s before fading away in this millennium when consumers were able to record music, as well as data and video to compact disc. The amateur recordings were vaulted into mainstream pop-culture with the release of the 2000 film, High Fidelity, starring John Cusack and based on the novel of the same name by Nick Hornby-- a great flick that I would highly recommend, especially if you, like me, are a big fan of Cusack.

Some would argue that the CD Compilation is the mix-tape of today, but the purist knows that the shiny silver discs could never live up to the small, twin wheels of fragile, thin tape embedded in that smokey, plastic shell and that no one could cue a song with a pencil, blindfolded, with one hand tied behind their back, as well as them.

Today, as with many other days, this went a different direction than I intended. Visit How to Make a Mix-Tape if you would like to read more of what I have to say on the subject. Be sure to check back soon when I will post the article that I was planning or writing about how the music of today and the music of the past is impacting each other.

Until then, Read This. Buy T-shirts. Peace.

2 comments:

Dave said...

You got any of those classic "Club Dave" tapes???


-D

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