You came to take us
all things go, all things go
to recreate us
all things grow, all things grow
we had our mindset
all things know, all things know
you had to find it
all things go, all things go
Sometimes I find the most intriguing things when I’m out and about in this city. For example, today I picked up U2’s The Joshua Tree and Peter Gabriel’s Us on tape for $1 at a thrift store. It was such an unusual find, but since my 1995 Camaro only has a tape deck I’m pretty excited. In some ways I feel sorry for the poor cassette tape. It has been surpassed in quality and utility by the CD, and doesn’t have the vintage cache of vinyl. No one is clamouring to bring back the tape. Who wants to struggle with rewinding and fast forwarding for mediocre sound quality, even if you do get the fun of having “A” and “B” sides? Apparently, tapes have been around since the 1960’s (something I just discovered today). Too bad they are almost obsolete.
I was in my mid-late teens when the ability to burn CDs became available to the average person. So I can remember when making mix tapes was a regular activity among my friends. Once I was in university we were passing around homemade CDs. On the surface the two concepts are identical, it’s really just putting random songs on a recording medium so they can be shared. The tape, however, presents one problem that you don’t have with CDs, the aforementioned two side phenomenon. A tape requires that you pick two songs to run into the end of the tape, which may or may not be finished when the recording stops. The standard length of mixtapes created by me was 90 minutes, or 45 per side. You can fit roughly 8-10 songs on each side, depending on the length of song.
Some people are keeping the mixtape alive. For example, the S.C.E.N.E. music festival in St. Catherines, Ontario has a mixtape/CD exchange as one of their events. I think it’s a very neat idea, and one that could find its way into The Mid-Summer Festival of Peace and Tranquility.
The point of all this is to create an Alder Fork Mixtape for your listening pleasure. I can’t physically give all my readers a tape, but I can make a list here and encourage you to make one yourself. You can get cassettes for $1 or less at a lot of stores. I am limiting myself to 8 songs per side for a grand total of 16. I think it should have a theme, so I can leave the door open to make more in the future on other themes. I am going to call the first one The Where in the World is…Mix. All of the songs will involve geography in the title or in the theme of the song.
El Salvador – Athlete -great song about material success and Latin American adventures
Stand – REM – I dare you not to dance around for this one
Pacific Theme – Broken Social Scene – just like being in Polynesia, but with more guitar
Washington Square (live iTunes exclusive) – Counting Crows – picking one CC song with geography in it is almost impossible but I did it
Ohio – Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young – obvious choice but I couldn’t say no
Grey Street – Dave Matthews Band – few songs speak to me like this one, almost like Grey Street is Bixby Cres.
405 – Death Cab for Cutie – North Americans spend a lot of time on the highway
Geographic Centre of Canada – The Wheat Pool – not only is it Canadian, it’s kind of about geography, perfect!
At the Hundredth Meridian – The Tragically Hip – arguably one of the best Canadian rock songs of all time
Africa – Toto – I’m allowed one wild, out-of-left-field pick
Chicago (To String Remix By Jongalloway) – Sufjan Stevens – a man who is trying to write albums about as many U.S. states as possible
Amsterdam – Coldplay – it’s not even about the things most people want from that city
The Only Living Boy in New York – Simon and Garfunkel – lovely song from a group that wrote a few about traveling around
Buffalo – Kathleen Edwards – no mixtape is complete without a newer song that I listen to 5 times a day
Mercy Street – Peter Gabriel – he uses a boat when he plays this live, that seems appropriate
Babylon II – David Gray – I wouldn’t know about him without this song, so I’ve included the reprise version from the album, the ideal song to wrap things up