25. February 2005 · Comments Off on The Mix Tape Without All The Work · Categories: Technology, That's Entertainment!

This article (free registration required) I received from the Washington Post’s Tech News E-Mail took me back:

Downloaded and Ready to Rock
iPod Nights Turn Amateurs Into Digital DJs at D.C. Club
By Jose Antonio Vargas
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 25, 2005; Page A01

I’m not even going to excerpt it; you get the idea from the title. I’ve been navel gazing on our new toys, our iPods, as I play more with iTunes and my ability to make playlists. The simple ability to sit down at you computer and drag and drop playlists is both very cool and very sad at the same time.

Remember when you were young and single and had a LOT of free time on your hands? Yeah, me neither, but I somehow managed to spend a ridiculous amount of time making mix tapes. I still have some around the house in boxes and old AAFES bags. Every stereo in the dorm had not only a turntable but two cassette player/recorders. Mine had “fast dubbing” so I could record tape to tape twice as fast. There was the geek with the reel to reel but he listened to wayyy too much classical. And of course, the obligatory idiot who had to put Bose 901s into a 8’x8′ dorm room. He may not have been in your dorm…but you could hear him. The Base Commander could usually hear him, and you can be sure the Wing Commander knew the young idjit’s name because he somehow managed to crank out “Welcome to the Jungle” five minutes before the “no-notice” recall was supposed to start.

It used to be you borrowed a friend’s album…you cleaned it, because no one and I do mean no one took better care of other people’s albums than you did. You needed music, you had minimal cash, you needed your reputation. You made sure your needle was clean. Maybe blast the turntable area with a bit of canned air. You got your Memorex or your TDK out of the shrink wrap. You tried to remember the last time you cleaned the heads of your cassette recorder and you gave up and cleaned them again too. All that before you cued up the tape past the leader hitting play/record/pause…holding your finger on pause as you oh so lightly let the needle land into the intro groove just as you released the pause button. Minimal sizzle…no pop…a clean recording…in real time so you had to listen to what you were doing. And that was just for one master album.

Mix tapes were best done on Saturdays…maybe get started a little before noon. You’ve had breakfast at the chow hall. There’s still adequate beer left in your lil ‘fridge from last night. Time to get to work. You’re mixing. You don’t know what yet but there’s been a playlist forming in your head for about a week or so now. This nagging chord that fades into a riff that you just know will be sweet if you can put it together. Crack a beer…check your notes…you think you’ve got the first side done but what to go out with? Wait…damn…you’re 15 seconds over on side one.

You get the idea.

And as much as it gives me the tinglies to simply be able to drag and drop my playlists, juggling orders with the ease of cut and paste, deciding on the two second pause between tracks with the click of the mouse, I kind of miss all the work. I know…it’s happened. I’ve grown a bit nostalgic for the way things used to be. I know it’s better to spend 10 minutes doing what it used to take all afternoon to do…musically anyway…but I kind of miss the feeling of there being a craft to it. It’s all cerebral now. It’s easier to make the mix, but I miss the old tools.

Guess that makes me old huh?

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