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2) LUDDITES OF THE WORLD UNITE: YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE BUT AURAL HISS


Writing about the beauty of cassette mix tapes in this week’s Village Voice, Brandon Stosuy notes and then asks:

“Cassettes make things weightier. When else have you spent so much time analyzing a song, wondering if the inclusion of Jawbreaker’s “Chesterfield King” meant (a) he/she loved you or (b) he/she equated you with the old lady in the parking lot who the song’s hero encounters at the climactic moment?”

Thankfully, never: even I’m not that anal. And as for the following:

“My friend broke a case apart, took the tape out, and inserted it backward, then put the case back together with duct tape. I often used this as a way to tie A and B into one long around-the-corner loop… You can’t do this on a CD.”

Well, no you can’t, but I assume that Stusoy, as a staff writer for the uber-hip Pitchforkmedia, is familiar with “glitch music,” whereby the skips and jumps of dirty CDs is sampled to form entirely new pieces of music. Technology – analog and digital alike – is there to be used and abused, dismantled and rearranged to our liking. Avoid it at your peril.

Yes, this is a book cover

Yes, this is a book cover.

In his defence, Stosuy’s essay is primarily a pitch for Thurston Moore‘s new book, Mix Tape: The Art Of Cassette Culture, which I’m sure I would love. I too, have boxes upon boxes full of mix tapes: I still run to them occasionally, at which they bring back all sorts of memories. But iTunes, the iPod, Garageband and other cheap software all allow us the ability to continue down the same path, albeit in a different medium. Writing up my Spring Hitlist, I formulated my own suggested singles mix, and then acted upon it. I ripped the tunes onto iTunes, played with the sequence a few times until I was happy with it (something you can not do with cassettes) and then, as well as dropping it onto the iPod as a Playlist, burned the full audio files onto CD, and gave it to the wife as a new “mix-tape” album. Is that any less worthy than my Christmas cassette mixes of ‘Silent Night, Silent Bloody Night’ I sent to friends a few years ago: 60 minutes of the same song ranging from traditional to techno? (It will surely have more longevity!) Stosuy probably wouldn’t know: he admits to owning neither an iPod, nor a DVD player, nor a cell phone….

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