Archive for August, 2009

The Lost Art of Creating a Mix Tape

Posted by matt on August 12, 2009

mixtape3.jpgIn the land of multi-terrabyte hard drives, iPods, MP3′s and ‘infinite playlists’, the art of actually using some restrain and editing to create a cohesive, interesting representation of your musical self is an art form long lost.

On my continual quest for quality and fresh music, about twice a year I create an 80-minute mix CD of my ‘favorites’ that I’m rocking at the moment.

While I haven’t made a ‘mix tape’ since college (yes, that is an actual one of mine above), I still have a CD player in my car which is where 90% of the mix is consumed.  Some rules I follow when creating my mix:

  1. A majority of the music must be < 1 year old – While I might create a ‘best of grunge’ mix or something like that, for the most part, I want to hear new music.  The life of the CD is usually around 3-6 months until I am ready to make a new one.
  2. Genre variety – I want to hit 2-3 genres at least, but no hard and fast rules.  Just not 80 minutes of metal–the mix needs some contrast (not so true of “Ultra Mosh II” above…)
  3. No more than 3 songs from the same artist/album – If you really like an album, it forces you to pick your favorite 3.  Also, mix them up throughout the mix
  4. Fill the 80 minutes as best you can – For my mix below, it clocks in at 79:59.11.  Yes, less than 1 second to spare! (with 0 second breaks between tracks as well)
  5. Try to make the tracks ‘flow’ – This can be tough… I don’t spend hours doing this, but you typically want some contrast without abruptness
  6. Don’t repeat a song from one mix CD to the next – Yeah, that song may be your favorite, but if that’s true, try and find a re-mix.  I did that below w/ the 2 Bloc Party tracks.

While you could, of course, do this exercise with an MP3 playlist, often you wouldn’t use any harsh editing because you usually don’t have constraints (after all, an 80 min. mix encoded at 256K is only about 160MB, which most every MP3 player has at least 10-100 times that much room…)

So without further ado, here is my Summer 2009 Mix.  The first thing you might notice when reading the below is that YOU HAVEN’T HEARD OF ANY OF THESE SONGS OR BANDS.  Well, the mix is mine, so that’s your problem…  I typically try to put some indie, punk, alternative, electronica, so while you may not know them, the songs work for me (and they are good, trust me).  Own your mix, it is something that is probably truly unique to you.

Matt’s 80-minute 2009 Summer Mix: (with links to either the video or a streamable version of the song)

  1. Bloc Party – Ares (Villains Remix)
  2. Julian Plenti  – Games For Days (Paul Banks of Interpol, solo album)
  3. Röyksopp ft Robyn – The Girl & The Robot
  4. Future Of The Left – Stand By Your Manatee
  5. Flight of the Conchords – Sugalumps
  6. Does It Offend You, Yeah? – With a Heavy Heart(I Regret to Inform You)
  7. Silversun Pickups – Growing Old is Getting Old
  8. Late of The Pier – Space and The Woods
  9. The Bird and the Bee – Diamond Dave
  10. Flight of the Conchords – You don’t have to be a Prostitute
  11. The Mars Volta – Cotopaxi
  12. Sunspot – Grand Guignol
  13. Bloc Party – One Month Off (Filthy Dukes Remix)
  14. The Bird and the Bee – My Love
  15. Future of the Left – Arming Eritrea
  16. Does it Offend you, Yeah? – Attack of the 60ft Lesbian Octopus
  17. Silversun Pickups – Panic Switch
  18. Flight of the Conchords – Too Many Dicks on the Dance Floor
  19. The Bird and the Bee – Polite Dance Song (this video is soooo David Lynch)
  20. Sunspot – Sweet Relief
  21. Silversun Pickups – Catch and Release

That clocks 79:59.11.  Do you still make mixes?  Favorite ones you’ve made?  Comments, baby.

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