'On The Run': A mixtape
I’ve got a penchant for making song mixes as presents. This started way back, early in college, shortly after music-sharing among my new classmates expanded my collection from pitiful to respectable. (In high school I listened to the same half-dozen albums over and over again.) A mixtape club got me started with my first mix, which was just a collection of songs I liked ordered together. Since then, I’ve tried to top myself with each subsequent mix I made, doing something more elaborate with each one. For a while I used a $20 doohickey to stamp the mix CDs with CD art, though that’s gone by the wayside since I no longer actually give physical CDs. I started writing liner notes, which I’d send along with the CD as a printed note. Then I began designing those liner notes on my computer, weaving the text around art from album covers and the like. I’ve made mixes in the style of a radio show, where I recorded myself describing the songs before playing them in a single 50-minute file, and stuffed the PDF liner notes full of hyperlinks, and shifted my focus to bigger and bolder art.
All of this threatens to overshadow the actual songs — the whole point of the thing — where I put considerable care into picking out songs that are A) good, B) likely new to the recipient and C) fitting with whatever theme I’m developing for the mix as a whole. I try to arrange them in a good order, with a flow from one song to the other.
Frankly, I’m not sure if any of the people I send the mixes to actually listen to the songs, or give the accessories I prepare more than a moment’s notice. (My favorite, perhaps, was one where I bought a LEGO pirate raft set, floated it in my largest glass baking dish on a blue comforter, and took a macro shot for my cover art for an album with a loose nautical theme.) But frankly, I get enough enjoyment out of crafting them myself that I don’t care too much whether the recipient appreciates them. I certainly listen to the mixes I make for people dozens of times, so to a certain degree I’m doing this for myself.
All that is prelude to saying that after years of making mixes for myself and for specific other people, I decided I should release one publicly, if only so as to have a reference point for when I mention liking to make elaborate mixes and people wonder what I mean.
This mix, which I call “On The Run,” I made shortly after graduating from college. (The song selection and order, that is. I made the liner notes and such over the past six months or so.) Compared to other mixes I make, it has a much tighter theme — it’s really a concept album — which came at some cost to the quality of the songs there. A few are more schmaltzy or sentimental than I normally prefer in my music. But they fit so well with my theme — a sort of biography of a fictional wanderer whose life spirals out of control.
You can listen to the mix below, as well as browse the liner notes after the jump. If you’ve got any questions or are curious about any of the artists or songs, feel free to contact me.