11 comments February 26th, 2005at 01:26pm Posted by Eli

Way, way back in the dim mists of prehistoric time, before there were MP3s or Furbies, I relied heavily on home-brewed 90-minute audio cassettes (I would compare them to videotapes for the youngsters’ benefit, but then I would have to explain what videotapes were). These fell into roughly three broad categories (yes, I like lists, deal with it):

1) Greatest hits compilations. I would borrow someone’s tape collection of a particular artist, and selectively record the songs I liked the most, which usually boiled down nicely to a 90-minute tape. Not sure how many of these I did, but I know I have a Police one and a Billy Joel one (yes, well – I still kinda like a lot of Billy Joel, to be honest), and possibly a B-52s one.

2) Radio mixes. Usually a single station, per tape, which made them quasi-thematic. Starting with easy listening dreck from WYNY in NYC (middle school), and concluding with awesome “modern rock” from Live 105 in SF (college), with interludes for oldies in Portland one summer, and Dr. Demento throughout high school.

3) Double-sided. In other words, an album on each side. Usually by the same artist, like Talking Heads or Depeche Mode, but every once in a while I would mix and match.

Featured double-sided tape of the day:
Side 1, Nilsson Schmilsson.
Side 2… Black Sabbath’s Greatest Hits.

Something in the dim recesses of my mind tells me I am going to Hell for this.

Anybody else have any bizarre audiotape anomalies to share with the group?

Entry Filed under: Music


  • 1. Jeffraham Prestonian  |  February 26th, 2005 at 2:21 pm

    Oh, sure. I used to hang out on a music forum on BITNET (try explaining THAT one to the kiddies), and in violation of all that is holy… er, copyright… we used to do an annual tape compilation. Each of the participants would send in 2-4 tunes from artists they’d discussed during the previous year, and then the sendee volunteer (“the sucker”) would compile all the tunes into what normally amounted to a four 90-min. cassette collection. Then, they were duplicated, and sent back out to the contributors, and to anyone else willing to pony up the blanks and postage. I got exposed to a lot of great music that way.

  • 2. Eli  |  February 26th, 2005 at 2:41 pm

    That sounds pretty way cool. I’ve tended to avoid things like that because on average, I only like about 10-20% of what I hear, so I would probably get discouraged and stop listening before I got to the good stuff…

    Also, I’m extremely lazy.

  • 3. oldwhitelady  |  February 26th, 2005 at 3:25 pm

    We had a lady that pulled several tunes from the internet onto a CD from each year we (the other employees) graduated from highschool. The CDs were pretty interesting to listen to.

  • 4. oldwhitelady  |  February 26th, 2005 at 3:27 pm

    “We had a lady that pulled ” should be
    “We had a lady who pulled”

  • 5. Eli  |  February 26th, 2005 at 6:14 pm

    Ooo, that sounds pretty cool as well. I’m pretty sure 1987 would be a good year for that, given my 80s-heavy tastes.

  • 6. weblackey  |  February 26th, 2005 at 7:00 pm

    I almost forgot about what it was like to turn the tape around.

  • 7. ntodd  |  February 26th, 2005 at 10:36 pm

    Dude, I used to make tape mixes all the time in college. I like to think it was an artful way to express myself, and prided my self on, dare I say, brilliant segues and interludes. Depending on my mood, a mix might move from Enya to Metallica within a few songs, perhaps with some Monty Python in between, and you wouldn’t think it was out of place at all.

    And don’t get me started on the “making mixes for girls you like, trying to include songs that have meaning, but not TOO MUCH meaning, if you know what I mean”.

  • 8. Eli  |  February 26th, 2005 at 11:00 pm

    I don’t think I *ever* made a mix tape for a girl. I did make a couple of tabloid collages, but I think they just scared the hell out of ’em. My door in college became a collection of cartoons and bizarre items from the Sun and the Weekly World News – once I graduated and had a more “public” door, I decided I could make collages that were more free-standing.

    I think they were pretty damn cool, but it’s kinda hard to make one of those that *doesn’t* make you look completely batshit insane.

    As for my own mix tapes, I didn’t really think much about juxtapositions. I had a dual-deck boombox, and would try to distill the mix tapes down to the absolute best stuff, although I eventually realized that there was a practical limit to how many times you could do this…

    I do mess around with juxtapositions with my movie collection, though. I could fit 3-4 movies on a tape, and I would try to make them thematic. My proudest achievement was one with Spinal Tap, The Ref, Quick Change, and Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure on it. If you ignore the “This Is” part of Spinal Tap, it’s basically four goofy comedies in a row, in descending consecutive alphabetical order.

    I am very easily amused.

    Ooo look! Shiny things!

  • 9. Jeffraham Prestonian  |  February 27th, 2005 at 3:37 am

    Now that I think about it, the first year we had *four* tapes, we split it up into two separate “suckers,” who traded masters. It was still a hell of a lot more work than what it would take today!

  • 10. NYMary  |  February 27th, 2005 at 1:26 pm

    I’ll try to forgive you for nothaving read this, bit it will be hard. It’ll be hard work.

  • 11. Eli  |  February 27th, 2005 at 2:01 pm

    Heh. I’m not even sure I had even started frequenting Eschaton back in November, much less branching out to Eschatonians.

    Good stuff, and I see you even got a couple of non-troll posts from The Call Me PASTABAGEL.

    In retrospect, I’m not sure if never making a mix tape for someone was a good idea or a bac one…

    I *have* provided some songs in bulk in various forms (copied to my sister’s laptop, some MP3 CDs for a friend, loaded onto an external hard drive for my girlfriend), and while it doesn’t even occur to me to have a theme or underlying message, I do try to think in terms of “What do I really like that I think they will really like too?” But I don’t go beyond that, for that way lies madness.

    For my own mix tapes, even the distilled ones, they’re generally just sequential in the order the songs were captured. The closest I have to a thematic tape is the all-kickass tape I listened to when I did data entry for a living. When “Thunderstruck” comes on, I scorch.

Contact Eli



Most Recent Posts




February 2005
    Mar »

Thinking Blogger

Pittsburgh Webloggers

Site Meter

View My Stats *