mix-tape, 30th September 2016

remember the mix-tape?… I do, I remember the mix-tape…….. I was there, was there in its heyday… the heyday of the mix-tape in the 1970’s and 80’s……. the mix-tape was an art form when done right…. taking time and thought, an almost innate sense of sound and tune and tone and feel…….. being your own Dj except there was little to no plaudits to be had at the end, merely the finished product lovingly crafted and intricately constructed…… for the time it took you became the producer and compiler, almost a conductor, and in a way a musician ‘writing‘ these tunes into one sculptural epic…… the best ones had a theme, like ones I made for out-n-out back-to-back rock… a collection of short-punchy moments condensed into two 45 minute sides of a 90 minute cassette tape… of ambience….. laid-back almost horizontal forays into cloud nine……. or quirky, where time signatures played whack-a-mole with each other……. there was driving mix-tapes, train-journey tapes, making lurrrrrrve cassettes… and of course the plethora of the ‘party-mix’…. a must for when you don’t want to be spending the party merely turning over vinyl after vinyl or risking scratching your precious musical treasures….. of course the best were saved for friends, as gifts…. these took all your creativity to capture not just the essence of a mood in a mix, but….. but also to match it to the person who receives it…….. mostly I used 90 minute tapes, 45 each side…… but some were best served on 60 minutes, 30 each side…….. 30 minute tape, 15-a-side, were rare but offered an intimacy that required the skill of the watchmaker working inside a tiny space……. 120 cassettes never really worked, with 60 minutes each side were invariably too thin and prone to stretching, snagging or snapping sooner than later….. although they were handy for whole albums each side…… not so good for mix-tapes…… 90’s were sturdier…… and some were ferrous, others chrome, the latter being the best quality… I could go about this bygone art on but I won’t as I’ve blathered long enough……..

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