Magic of the mixtape


Over at re:form on Medium, Charles Moss gets nostalgic about the mixtape and how it embodies "emotional design" in a physical, tangible time capsule of the moment it was recorded. From re:form:

In the past few years, sort of like vinyl, the cassette mixtape has made a comeback among bands looking for a different way of releasing albums, and 20-something audiophiles trading mixtapes online and through the mail. No one mistakes this revival for a resurrection. Making mixtapes, once a mass phenomenon, is now a twee exercise.

That the practice endures at all tells us something important about art and self-expression. The constraints that once bound the maker to the mixtape have been stripped away from the outside by technology, but they persist on the inside as a kind of epiphenomenal desire.

"The Emotional Design of the Mixtape"

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  1. doylee says:

    I love mix tapes. I inherited that joy from my dearly departed Dad. I'm going through his mix tapes from the late 70's to see what they contain. I'm blogging about them here: Doyle's Mixtapes

  2. In my adolescence, the mix tape was a crucial component of the courtship ritual.

    If your mix tapes were not compatible, the relationship was over before it began.

  3. I have been known to keep my playlists to a clean 45 minutes, and make believe there is a Maxell XLIII involved.

  4. I had friends once that thought it acceptable for the last song on a side to run out of tape.

    We no longer speak.

  5. Arys says:

    Ah! I was just complaining to my brother about the mindset of mixtapes vs the mindset of "playlists" (at least how people use them on Spotify).

    Spotify kept asking me if I wanted to the playlist to shuffle! Why would I want it to shuffle when I just spent all of that time and care building it in the order it's in? I can't believe there are people that dump songs into playlists all higgledy-piggledy with no plan or narrative arc or anything... What's the point in that?

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