Water Mosaic echoes from home

pondering the mysteries, simplicity, and humor of life

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The Art of Mixed Tapes

Just read a nice piece by Thurston Moore, lead singer/noise maker from the band Sonic Youth, about the past art of mixed tapes. (article) He recently wrote a book called Mix Tape: The Art of Cassette Culture. Mixed tapes came before this new revolution of iPods or mp3s and introduced the advantage of being your own producer, rearranging songs that fit a certain mood or situation whether that be a party or a gift to a friend or lover. I think the mix tape generation had to go through the same junk that internet file sharing has gone through, but probably not has harsh as a band (cough*Metallica*cough) suing your pants off. I value the free environment of sharing music, yet I can say this knowing I'm not an artist trying to survive in the cut-throat industry called the music biz. I truly think people will buy the music if they enjoy, but then again I'm an optimist. Jeff Tweedy once said that the artist really isn't the full owner of the music, but shares ownership with the audience that listens to it because they interpret and mold the music into their own experience.

So here's a toast to mix tapes. Anyone remember a certain mixed tape you made for yourself or a crush or just a friend? I remember my Granddad making me some mixed tapes of bluegrass and the comedian singer Ray Stevens. This was my first introduction to guys like Marty Stuart, Bill Monroe, Charlie Acuff, Dave Macon as well as "The Streak." While away one summer in Oregon, my wife (then my girlfriend) sent me a mix tape of "Cheesy Love Songs." Nothing like blasting some Lionel Ritchie and Michael Bolton on my tape deck in the middle of Oregon State University.