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Thread: "I'll make you a mixtape..."

  1. #1
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    "I'll make you a mixtape..."

    There are many thoughts on how to make a mixtape*.

    For me, I like to try and create an hour+ of a mix that takes the listener on a ride. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn't. But generally I'm happy with the output even if I don't always like all of the songs 100%, but the fit the mix so I use it.

    This is my primary form of artistic expression (including creating artwork for them).

    I really started back in, oh, probably 1990. The high school I went to had a rather nice mixing console with CD inputs and cassette tape output. So... I used that ...and I got hooked. Fading music in and out to make a smooth continuous mix of music I liked. Well, hell yeah.

    But I didn't really get going in earnest until the MP3 revolution. Then I could sequence tracks and burn them to CDs. I didn't have a mixing board or the processing power to do in software the way I wanted to, but that's when I really started to share my mixes.

    And then in 2005 I bought my first iMac and it had GarageBand... so that I used (and still use) to mix things the way I want.

    I started with 160kbps MP3s of my CD collection (and so many varied bitrate remixes from Napster**)... and then 320kbps AAC's of my CD and iTunes purchases (fun fact, importing DRM Apple tracks back in the day to GarageBand and then outputting them back into iTunes strips the DRM... or did for me). And then I bought a much larger HDD.

    So, we've got ALAC of vinyl rips and starting to do my CDs again, mixed the DVD rips and iTunes purchases.

    Now when my brain decides to start putting the puzzle pieces of a mix together, then I start with a new playlist and mix and match until I get the mood I want. It would be a mistake to try and analyze my mixes beyond that.

    Right now, I have 53 mixes I'm happy with. I'm lazily questing to replace as much of the CDs I have with the nicest vinyl versions of them, and will be remastering (again) the old mixes as the replacement continues.

    I just recently started using Mixcloud again to upload 320kbps versions of the mixes (instead of lossless download or lossless burned to CD) and the 8 most recent mixes can be found there (yes, it says 13 are up, but the last five were a special parameters year end mix and aren't really of the same quality).

    Here they are.

    So, yeah, this is my art...

    Not really a movie soundtrack, more like painting. I really like the conceptual idea of creating a sonic mosaic within a given space... and if I've done a good job, hopefully this listener will get the space I'm painting. Not quite like Eno but within the same realm.

    Do you do anything similar?

    Oh, I don't really make mixes for other people specifically, but if I think someone will appreciate the vibe of a particular mix, I'l let them know about it (or give them a copy when I see them).

    I have a few ongoing series of mixes (one of which I'll be ending with the next release in it... 10 is enough), and a big part of the inspiration to get a bit more creative with my musical choices, have been the "Back To Mine" series.

    If anyone wants a full set of physical copies of the mixes, DM me and we can set something up. If you're lucky, I'll even pay for it all.

    * - a curated selection of songs that are intended for an audience large than the creator. Not just a playlist.
    ** - and then I made it a mission to collect the physical media versions of the remixes I used on those mixtapes... I really like to support the artists/bands/rights holders, so I just buy lots of music. In the case of mash-ups, I even buy the source material to feel "justified" in using them.
    Last edited by MrLobster; 03-20-2019 at 11:33 PM. Reason: one more thought.....

  2. #2
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    i love making mixes for people. this week i made a mix for my best friend that is 32 songs and 3.5 hours long (definitely the most ambitious mix i've ever made). most of the mixes i've made in the last 20 years have been for her, but i've also made them for plenty of other people. i've rarely made a mix specifically for myself, but i always like listening to the ones i've made for others.

    i miss making actual tapes. for years i made CDs where i'd actually import the AIFF files from CDs so i could make the highest quality mix possible, but then i got lazy and started using mp3s. these days, i mostly just make playlists on spotify, but i still put the same time and care into the process, spending hours selecting songs, choosing an order, and trimming the fat.

    “The making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. You gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch, but you don’t wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules.” - High Fidelity

    my biggest rules for making a mix (which i very occasionally bend)

    • the rule about how to start a good mix from the high fidelity quote is something i did before seeing that movie, and i still stick to it
    • you don't have to pick a theme before you start (sometimes it will emerge as you're combing through your library and picking songs), but sticking to a theme is a really helpful way to sculpt the mix, whether it's an emotional or sonic theme
    • if you're going to use more than one song by the same artist, they either need to be sequential as they are on the album, or they need to be separated by at least two songs by other artists (i broke that rule with the mix i just made by putting two Dead Can Dance songs from different albums right in a row...but it worked really well somehow)
    • it has to flow well; if you can't make a song work transitionally, it's not right for the mix (this includes volume differentials)
    • DON'T EVER PUT A MIX SOMEONE MADE YOU ON SHUFFLE; i spent an entire week working on a two-volume NIN mix for a friend and he fucking put it on shuffle and i was just like what the fuck?
    • artwork is important; sometimes just as important as the title, if not more important. i used to use urban outfitters and anthropologie catalogs to make liner notes; these days i use pictures i've posted on instagram haha

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    Quote Originally Posted by eversonpoe View Post
    • if you're going to use more than one song by the same artist, they either need to be sequential as they are on the album, or they need to be separated by at least two songs by other artists (i broke that rule with the mix i just made by putting two Dead Can Dance songs from different albums right in a row...but it worked really well somehow)
    • it has to flow well; if you can't make a song work transitionally, it's not right for the mix (this includes volume differentials)
    • DON'T EVER PUT A MIX SOMEONE MADE YOU ON SHUFFLE; i spent an entire week working on a two-volume NIN mix for a friend and he fucking put it on shuffle and i was just like what the fuck?
    • artwork is important; sometimes just as important as the title, if not more important. i used to use urban outfitters and anthropologie catalogs to make liner notes; these days i use pictures i've posted on instagram haha
    All these are very good points.

    Sometimes I like to bookend a mix with different versions (covers and remixes) of the same song, like La Mer or Sweet Dreams or One Vision (c'mon, who doesn't love both Laibach and Queen?).

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    For my mixes, I will literally crossfade tracks into one another to create a sense of flow and solidarity within the mix. It's not always about beat matching, but about matching the feel of the previous track. My philosophy is usually this: start loud and energetic, then descend into something slower and moodier before bouncing back to something bombastic to close out the mix.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BRoswell View Post
    For my mixes, I will literally crossfade tracks into one another to create a sense of flow and solidarity within the mix. It's not always about beat matching, but about matching the feel of the previous track.
    I don't care about beat matching at all... unless for some random chance, like, say... high hats match up in the waveform then I might take advantage of that. Most of the time I'll do a crossfade but sometimes you just want a gap for the impact of the next song.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrLobster View Post
    I don't care about beat matching at all... unless for some random chance, like, say... high hats match up in the waveform then I might take advantage of that. Most of the time I'll do a crossfade but sometimes you just want a gap for the impact of the next song.
    Exactly. Usually I'll try to go with a natural crossfade instead of creating one, i.e. the decay of one track ending will lead into the fade in of another, or the sudden start of a track will come is as it's fading out. Sometimes I will try to match tracks just by how they end so that the transitions sound really good.

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    I wasn't planning on making a mix this week but here we are...

    Another of my women-centric mixes. Hoping to make more.

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    Give Something

    this is the three-and-a-half hour mix i made, btw. definitely not for everyone but i'm really, really proud of it.

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    I don't use Spotify but I can certainly appreciate the effort.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrLobster View Post
    I don't use Spotify but I can certainly appreciate the effort.
    i sent it to a friend who recreated it on apple music, so i'm guessing none of the tracks would be unavailable on other streaming sites.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eversonpoe View Post
    i sent it to a friend who recreated it on apple music, so i'm guessing none of the tracks would be unavailable on other streaming sites.
    Fair enough (but the only streaming I use is Mixcloud and that's for posting ((well, I mean, I host my own stream for my own broadcasts but that isn't the same thing)) but I also don't listen to the radio if I can help it either, they just aren't a priority for me, when I "run out of music" then I'll probably get into streaming...).

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrLobster View Post
    Fair enough (but the only streaming I use is Mixcloud and that's for posting ((well, I mean, I host my own stream for my own broadcasts but that isn't the same thing)) but I also don't listen to the radio if I can help it either, they just aren't a priority for me, when I "run out of music" then I'll probably get into streaming...).
    if i actually owned all of the songs on the mix i'd just make you a 3-4 CD physical copy and mail it to you

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    Sheryl Crow retweets Rob Sheridan...

    *checks notes*

    Well shit, I did just put them both on the same mixtape...

  14. #14
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    I like dub. I like making mixes. I've made two dub-focused mixes... and given the happy day... may as well share.

    Derby Beardo's Weekend Stash (series)

    So if you want to dive into (IMHO) some of the best dub (I've yet to discover), then give these a shot.

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