Back when I worked at Bank of America in the first few years of this century, I met Matt Hite. Matt is something of an authority on mash-ups, and he inspired me to try my hand at creating some mixes. Not mix tapes, that melodramatic lost art of the 1980s, but full-on beatmatched mixes that pay a passing respect to basic musicology.
Surprisingly, I turned out to be quite terrible at it. I mean, I can beatmatch and match songs somewhat competently, but it turns out I just don’t have The Gift for this kind of thing that results in clever, listenable music. After three strikes, I figured I was out.
For anyone with minutes to kill, I offer up my mutations for a post-mortem.
During my senior year of high-school (1988-1989), and during summers inbetween college, my friend Victor and I used to go to Chicago every Friday night to Medusa’s, a dance club in Chicago (it has since relocated to Elgin). A converted two-story house, Medusa’s had two distinct components: House/Dance on the giant lower floor, and a somewhat experimental upper floor that would alternate between rock, punk, experimental electronica (I remember watching Kraftwerk’s Music Non-Stop video up there), and anything else you could think of. This was my first attempt at making a mix, and I unwisely chose to make a tribute to that time period at Medusa’s. The choice was unwise because I was still in the “mixtape” mentality and the mix plays like someone walking up and down between the two floors, alternating between late 1980’s house music and… not 1980’s house music. While that evokes great memories for me, it does not make the most listenable mix. The first two songs in particular don’t belong in ANY mix, I think, but I had to include them because they were so representative of Chicago house music at the time I was going (including that damn ACIEEED house period).
After realizing the mistake of my mixtape mentality, I decided to put together something modern that would be darker and more intense, with maybe the slightest new-wave influence. Whether or not it turned out that way is up to you. This one is listenable and flows well 60% of the time, if not very cleverly. It’s quite self-titled; I figured it would be female-friendly electronica that goth chicks could tolerate.
Inspired by the MindCandy 2 easter egg hidden in the first five seconds of 9 Fingers, this was an intentionally silly challenge: Mix together as many versions as possible of 2 Unlimited‘s Tribal Dance without losing my sanity. The end result is a 24-minute ultra-mix of Tribal Dance, probably 16 minutes more than anyone should be subjected to in a single run. And yet, this one is my favorite, mostly because it mixes together so damn well. If it weren’t for the track breaks in the cuesheet, I’m not sure people could pick apart the individual sections.
When I knew that my silliest mix was also my favorite, I knew it was time to stop trying. Enjoy these, if you can.