Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Need for, and the Imminent Resurgence of Mix Tapes (Cassettes)

I have given this much thought over the past few days, and I believe that the mix tape, in cassette form, should return to its original and significant vitality. The nature of our pop culture and media, our society and the ever-important pursuit of the individual is requirement enough for the return of this very powerful and exciting tool of the creative mind.

What can we achieve? A cassette is reliable, handy, and it requires an art to manipulate the media to it full potential. For example, simple RCA cables connected to your tape decks inputs allow you to a) record your voice or other sounds, b) record from DVD, VHS or television (samples), or c) dub from similar sound sources. You can create libraries of specifically selected music, your own music or perhaps poetry, audio literature or even audio dramatizations, straight from the grand age of radio. As you create a tape of your original work, or if you are making the classic mix tape for friends and family, the options for its uniqueness are endless!

How would this benefit our culture? This style of media is indicative of the DIY movement and method of thinking. Each tape is not limited to the words or music recorded; the tape, itself, becomes a canvas for artwork, indigenous to its creater. As I have already mentioned, this opens doors for spoken word and any other creative outlet requiring sound, such as music. Musicians can and have experienced the benefits of bootleg or intentional distribution of their music; mix tapes are an easy way to do just that, and they have more character than an ordinary CD, requiring more thought and effort, which makes the endeavor more rewarding in the end. This opens up into my final point...

What are the advantages? As we already know, real music and real musicians are rarely played on popular radio, nor do they receive exposure in the media-drenched cesspool of American excess. That is why, as independents, we must unite, stick together, and stand strong in our beliefs, supporting each other throughout. The exchange of music, art and cinema should not be restricted, within reason. That is why mix tapes are ideal, since mix tapes are safe from the imposed piracy and theft safeguards that never protect the artist, but the fat pigs at the record labels and their parent corporations. Mix "CD's" are more awkward than cassettes, and are susceptible to the further proliferation of the recording industry's hold on freedom in the media. You can mix song after song from any CD you want, and record it to a cassette!

On the other side of the fence, I have to say that is important to always support a true and worthy musician by buying their art and their music! I have listened to and even liked many songs, even in todays pop music scene, but I would not pay for a Justin Timberlake song, or whatever, and I would not feel bad about dubbing it. I would, however, pay full price for a Joni Mitchell album, a Tony Romanello or Syren CD, or a Melissa Auf Der Maur album. Always pay for local artists, and if you dub their music, then spread it around!

Take back your music! Defend your right to listen...put down that Starbucks latte and do something magical for a change!


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