“Wait, he didn’t burn you a CD, he made you a tape? Aww, that is so romantic!” – Lee, Tarantino’s Death Proof
I have nothing left of some people other than a little cassette. This may not seem like much, but for anyone who’s ever engaged in the mating ritual of mixtape-swapping, it’s possible to extrapolate someone’s entire personality out of the mix that they made you. Song pacing and order convey temperament, a sense of humor; tape artwork gives hints about sloppiness/neatness/artistic ability, and so on.
Mix tapes used to be my primary means of flirting; many of my relationships can be measured by the miles of magnetic tape that accumulated between us. There were sad tapes and happy pop tapes; tapes with themes like Seven Deadly Sins; mixes intended to indoctrinate, communicate and seduce.
It was always so ritualized. As you recorded, mulling over every song, doodling around your track list, maybe even collaging together some cover art, you imagined your intended recipient taking the music in for the first time. Would they feel what you had felt when you first heard that song? Would they feel jarred by a certain song combination? The final product involved sound, sight and touch (and smell and taste, if you were really creative!). A gift that was half narcissism and half generosity, it always begged for a response.
Did you make mix tapes too? Did someone give you a tape that changed you? Slap it on the scanner, scan every piece, and send it to us. Or make a brand-new tape, for other Coilhouse readers. But don’t just send a playlist, really make it! Think up a new theme (here’s some inspiration), decorate the the tape/stickers/box/track list, scan the whole thing and submit the images. The most creative mix tape art will be published in Coilhouse Magazine, Issue 1! You don’t actually have to mail a tape, but I will seek out everything on your mix and listen, in the exact order that you intended.
Top Image: “Don’t Take My Word For It Mix” by Jonathan Marx from the band Lambchop. Published Mix Tape: The Art of Cassette Culture by Thurston Moore.