Saturday, August 30, 2008

If I were to make a mixtape....

Are there any rules to making mixtapes or in the present day and age, CD-Rs?


I think great music, surprise, and a bit of variety should still count for something, though...

Ennio Morricone -'Theme from the Good, The bad and the Ugly (Le Bon, La Brute et Le Truand).' mp3

Hot Butter - 'Popcorn.' mp3

Toyah -'It's A Mystery.' mp3

Enjoy your weekend...


Anonymous said...

I would agree with suprise...such as Missy Elliot on the end of a CD-R filled with alternitive 80's rock! For shock value a bit of the Butthole Surfers i would say - I often made small tapes for my mothers car which was filled with the Butthole Surfers,Zappa,Beefheart. Poor woman.
SW (speaking to you from Edinburgh)

So It Goes said...

Rules, my man? Only made to be broken, IMHO (that's creativity ;-))
There's currently a film doing the rounds of Korean cinemas called 'The Good, The Bad And The Strange'. Now I wonder where they got the title from?!?

Ed said...

SW- ha ha, I remember subjecting my parents to the Sex Pistols and the Stranglers, which didn't go down too well, though my Da enjoyed the Cure and David Bowie stuff I made him listen to. Glad to hear you've made it through to Edinburgh, meet up soon. Oh, and I'm sure that CD-R had a fair bit of 70s Krautrock on it!

sig/Steve -rules should be broken, tis true, when discussing creativity. I remember one friend at university saying in horror 'But you've but more than one song on by an artist on here' on a tape I'd made for someone else,' as though I'd seriously not quite grasped this. Oh well...

Anonymous said...

Yeah definitely.The CD-R did have a fair bit of krautrock.It was worth while as i went out bought some of the albums invovled such as Gang Of Fours - Entertainment! So thanks!

david said...

.......or podcasts?
Good stuff Ed, you've got me thinking.

And, er..shouldn't it really be 'il buono, il bruto e il cativo'?

Ed said...

SW - if anything inspired you to go and buy Enetertainment! then that was worthwhile.

David - take you point about the Italian translation, but bizarrely the french one was one the mp3 I bought. So Cativo is ugly rather than 'Catty' which I had thought it was. Time I signed up for evening classes, but when would I find time to blog?


david said...

OK Ed, had a few thoughts about this over lunch. I think you're asking the wrong question - making a mix-tape isn't
about RULES, it's about your philosophical approach. A good mix-tape should be an exploration of your inner psyche (!!!).

Here's my theory: decide on your opening track - for talking's sake, let's choose Orange Juice and 'I Can't Help
Myself'. You've then got approx three minutes to decide where to go from there. An Edwyn Collins solo track?
Another Postcard band? Something by the Postcards? The Four Tops version of 'I Can't Help Myself'?

And so it goes (sorry Steve :D). In effect, it's a journey of self-exploration without any fixed destination.
In a well-chosen mix-tape, you should still be able to trace the path back to your opening song after 20/30/50

Makes me think of the six degrees of seperation thing - y'know, can you go from The Beach Boys to Belle & Sebastian
in six tracks?

(well, it is Sunday, and I've just had an excellent lunch)

Ed said...

Hmm, links...well, if it's a best of scottish indie themed tape, then it's straightforward enough I guess...I suppose i often tend to John Peel's maxim (whoo! surprise, surprise) 'A bit of what you know people will like and a bit of what you think people will like.' Certainly, I feel a mix tape/ CD-R should be just more than a Now...volume whatever we are on. Then again, I'm not thirteen, so...

adam said...

David - Yes! Yes. The journey. Exactly. As it happens I've just found a pile of blank C90s whilst sorting out what I need to take back to school with me tomorrow and the possibility of stretching out sometime soon and making a real mixtape is nagging at me.

Ed said...

I love the finished result of a mixtape, but I kinda prefer CD-R now, and the USB turntable kinda enables me to burn the vinyl onto CD-R or mp3 for the Ipod in the car.

Mind you, can get more on a C90 than on a CD-R...

Anonymous said...

Always gave the final word on my compilation tapes (mix tapes to me were ones using 2 turntables and a mixer)to Mark E Smith, a track from whichever Fall album I was listening to at at the time. Invariably got the comment that the tape was either ok are good except for that "pish at the end with the guy that can't sing". No matter how hard i tried i could never get any girls to understand the brilliance that is the Fall.

and the first track had to be a belter

Ed said...

The Fall are definitely one of those bands that you either get, or you don't.

yes, it sounds like a (glam) racket, but it's how you interpret that racket that affects how it grabs you.

And the same applies to some of the other great bands of time. About ten years ago, at university, I played guitar in a band. I swapped a fair bit of stuff with the singer, who was certainly quite into his music. But two things convinced me it wasn't going to work: a) to him, David Bowie was 'Let's Dance' not Low, and b) whilst he liked the first Suicide album, he didn't get the Velvet Underground & Nico.

A couple of years later, I walked passed the band's rehearsal room while they were rehearsing. the song in question? Robbie Williams' 'Let Me Entertain You.'

Like I say, you either get it, or you don't.

DrunkCountry said...

No disrespect to all your responders thus far, Ed, but mixtapes etc., & how they are compiled, MUST adhere to certain
rules. Anyone who says otherwise hasn't got a fucking clue how to put mixtapes together.

Creating a mixtape is very much akin to being a DJ creating a set/playlist: the whole success of a DJ's set/playlist is pace, rhythm, transition, compatability &, conversely, juxtaposition. Fuck this up & the whole thing sounds like a random mess.

Of major importance is the transition from one track to another — not only do you have to take the rhythm/bpm/etc. into consideration, you also have to consider the tone/pitch/note/etc. Sometimes a 'tune' clash works perfectly, but its rare to be spot on with it. You need to have a good music ear as well as an ear for music to perfect this.

Moving from one style/genre of music to another is fine, but a tricky thing to pull off accurately (same with changing from one speed to a dramtically opposite pace/beat) - aesthetics such as tune, tone & balance come into play. You can't simply have a Clash song coming after a Belle & Sebastian track just because it's The Clash & Belle & Sebastian. Reputation means shit if there's an incompatability, no matter how slight. It's hearing that slight (in)compatability is where the art of compilation emerges.

Some people say 'bollocks' to the above & think having track after track of what they like is the best way ever to do a mixtape, which is why there are so many fucking awful 'mixtapes', podcasts & radio shows out there on the net.

You have to take your time over it. It's not something that happens overnight.

The most important thing, of course, obviously, but always a factor that appears to have been left out of decision making on many an occasion on the evidence of some of the net-based ross available, is the music. A good mixtape isn't a good mixtape if it contains shit or elitist or "exclusive" or fringe music. It needs to contain elements of broad appeal. Also, just because you like it doesn't mean to say it has appeal beyond your bedroom door. The recipient of the tape should always be considered, without question. Not in a 'this is what they like' way, but in a 'this is almost their field, but subverts; let's see what they think' way. The odds of everyone who hears your mixtape loving it to bits, & never ever ever buying another record ever again, are slim. So, you know, here's where broadening your listening habits/tastes come in.

Look at the process as sending a declaration of intent to someone you want to fuck. Not in a 'High Fidelity' way - ignore 'messages in lyrics' & all that bollocks. It should be an experience to receive & listen to the mixtape & one that will entirely envelope the listener.

It's not a science, it's little less a complete Art, but it does have to follow a formula/pattern/template.

O, & finally, the first track should engage, not belt someone around the face with it's shoes for 3 minutes. There is a massive difference.

Ed said...

I think the final word belongs to you, DC.

MIster P said...

Nostalgia-inflected rant on the differences between making a mixtape (joyous) and burning a CDR (soulless) here...