Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Taking A Ride On The Indie Bandwagon

Here's a revelation:

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The ... who?

According to the Washington Post (via the awesome Stereogum) the latest new music craze for kids is... old music. Yes, that's right - Led Zeppelin, The Doors, The Who, Jethro Tull (ok, maybe not the last one.) But apparently it's all making a comeback and they have some sort of figures involving radio listenership and iTunes downloads to prove it.

I'm most likely one of the demographic the Post is talking about - my last two CD purchases were the following excellent albums:




One was made this year. The other is approaching its fortieth anniversary. Forty years! Think of the things that have happened in forty years. Why on earth would I buy a CD that has no relevance to my time and space at all?

The answer is pretty simple really - good music will always be good music.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Mix Tapes: Between Love and Ego

The mix tape is an integral part of any music lover's culture. I perceive the making of a mix tape as an utterly romantic gesture, be it for your boyfriend or girlfriend, your best friend, male or female, music fan or non music fan. It doesn't have to be romantic in the same sense that you'd buy your partner a bunch of flowers to express your feelings to them, although this can certainly be the case, and quite often is. It's romantic in that you're openly and willingly giving someone a piece of you; the songs that are imprinted in your soul and have had a part in shaping you as a person. The mix tape can be a portal into your soul. And it resides between two things: love and ego.

I must point out that firstly, although its sort of implied when you make a mix tape, I did not actually come up with the essence of the love and ego idea. I stole it from an amazing book that I recently purchased for my special boy, called 'Mix Tape: The Art of Cassette Culture' edited by Thurston Moore. It is absolutely incredible. Thurston basically collected a whole bunch of experiences of people he knows that are in some way culturally and/or musically relevant and has placed these experiences, pictures and photos of real mix tapes and mix tape tracklists in beautiful collages to make this book. I recommend purchasing it, and if you don't get it from Polyester books on Brunswick st soon you will be ordering it from America and will likely wait 2 months like I did.

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So, one of the sections in this book is 'Love and Ego' and I think that that beautifully sums up the essence of the mix tape. I cannot remember the exact quote that is pulled from the introduction to this section but basically you make someone a mix tape for one of two reasons. Either 'I'm in love with you or I would like to pursue some sort of romantic interest with you so here's a whole bunch of songs that express how much I like you' or 'I have great taste in music. You should listen to this to make your music taste as good as mine'. Hence, the love or ego derivatives. Now, for those who have had the pleasure in making a mix tape, you can't really deny either of these. They can even be a combination of the two: 'I love you and I think you should love me and then we'll both have great taste in music!'

Now mix tapes were a thing of the 80s and early 90s and then computers and digital media took over. I think that the mix CD has pretty much claimed dominance over the mix tape now, which I think is a real shame. There is a real art to making a mix tape, and yeh you can still go through a lot of pain to get the track listing in the perfect order when you burn a CD but the mix tape has so many more elements to it. There's the whole process of making it in real time, sitting next to your cd or record player and pushing record and listening to the song as it gets transferred onto the reel of tape. Making sure the last song doesn't cut off half way through and if it does, needing to re-order the tracks. Making art work! something that I think has been lost with the mix CD. Where's the fun in watching a CD burn??

There's a thrill in making a mix to give to someone special, but there's also a thrill in receiving one. Thinking about the time and effort that the person has gone into making one for you. And if it's a new potential romantic interests, the possibilities and hidden messages within songs is endless! And even when they are your current romantic interest, it's just as good. What made me finally write this post is that my lovely boyfriend made me a mix and gave it to me before he went overseas to New York. And the song's on the mix are either related to us and have some sort of significance to us, or they are a message from him. The one that really gets my heart going is Yo La Tengo's 'Don't have to be so sad'. It's sort of hard not to when your missing him so much it hurts and you have a tape full of songs that reminds you of him. But the message is there, all the same.

Ultimately, music is something that should be shared. Its kinda hard not to share music with the people who are special to you. If you did it would be like supressing love.

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http://www.artofthemix.org/index.asp

- amanda