Remember mixtapes? Weren’t those sick? Something happened when digital music took over, people stopped making mixtapes. At least, I think something happened. I grew up in the digital age of music and wouldn’t know, honestly. But I have seen a ton of 80s and indie movies so I know that the art of the mixtape is sacred and must be maintained in this digital age.
Mixtapes meant something. They were meticulously curated expressions of the hearts and minds of their creator, and they spoke to what makes music such a personal experience. I mean if you think about it, it’s kinda a wonder that songs written years and years ago can still resonate with people living in an almost entirely different world. And yet, that’s exactly what happens to me whenever I put on a Joni Mitchell song, or listen to a bit of Miles Davis. I may not know either of them, and they may have been leading very different lives to the one I’m living, but their music is still so powerful.
I actually find myself making “mixtapes” pretty often. I guess I’m what one would consider playlist addict, constantly building lists of music that speaks to me and throwing it in the general direction of my friends/family. I just love putting together themed playlists and using them for a day or two before moving onto the next one I suppose. Now that I think about it, I guess mixtapes aren’t really gone; they’ve just been supplanted by Spotify playlists.
Which brings us to why I’m starting this series. Every so often, I’m gonna be compiling a wide variety of songs and music for people to check out and listen to and sharing it here on the blog. Some volumes might be themed, some may not be. Some may even have some narration between the songs.
Volume 1: An introduction to rhythmic ceremonies
For this first mixtape, I’ve decided to go with the theme of “rhythm.”
How vague, I know.
My idea behind this mix was to start things off on the right foot by queuing some Pop, RnB, and soundtrack tunes from the past 50 or so years in order to show that, genres and time signatures aside, music of all kinds can really get you moving.
On top of that, a lot of these songs are personal favorites of mine and I couldn’t help but want to put them in the first mixtape I’m sharing online because of what they mean to me.
Here are a couple of my highlights from the playlist…
Deep End – Lykke Li (so sad so sexy)
This one has kinda been my jam for the past few weeks, superseding a handful of other Lykke Li bangers in order to get onto this list. It’s off her latest record, so sad so sexy, which finds the Swedish vocalist in full trap-RnB mode. The entire album is loaded to the brim with great beats and melodies to dissect and I can’t recommend it enough if you’re into this song. I also highly recommend her proceeding album, I Never Learn, which found her expressing a heart in devastation after a bad breakup.
D.J. – David Bowie (Lodger: 2017 Tony Visconti Mix)
Anyone that’s known me for longer than, say 20 minutes, knows I’m a diehard David Bowie fan. It’s just one of the infallible truths of the universe, I suppose. D.J. is off of Bowie’s 1979 record Lodger, which caps off his famous Berlin Trilogy of albums. Those records found Bowie steering into the avant-garde more completely than he ever had leading up to then, and the period yielded Bowie favorites like Sound & Vision, Heroes, and Beauty and The Beast.
D.J. is a song that revolves around a self-absorbed disc-jockey who has let his popularity go to his head and infect his mind with a narcissistic haze. So it’s basically what’s gonna happen to me if this whole mixtape schtick takes off.
Oh, and Tony Visconti’s 2017 mix of the original song really brings it to life. The original mix of this song wasn’t that bad to begin with I suppose, but Lodger as a whole really benefited from Visconti’s fresh coat of paint.
Only You – Steve Monite (Doing It in Lagos: Boogie, Pop & Disco in 1980’s Nigeria)
It isn’t a Nick playlist without a completely out of nowhere, how-did-you-even-find-this, selection finding it’s way into the mix.
I found this song back in 2018 when Theophilius London and Kevin Parker from Tame Impala released a one-off single that was a cover of this song. And let me tell you, I was changed after I heard this song. The groove and desperation in the lyrics/vocals immediately make me imagine being in the smokey back of some scotch-stained limo in the back of LA in the 80s. And that’s just the cover we’re talking about; the original recording (which is what I’ve featured on the mixtape) is on another level entirely. The drum programming here, with it’s drum effects swirling around that keyboard (?) bass line is to die for. Killer.
But that brings us to the end of the first Mixtape Obscura! I hope you dug it and that you found some music worth adding to your own playlists! If you liked what you heard, wanna share some love, or have recommendations for future themed mixes or songs you’d love to share with me, feel free to hit me up in the comments or on any of The Media Obscura’s social pages! We’re @themediaobscura on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook 🙂
Til next time!