mixtape 028

By Order of His Majesty King Mob, please enjoy jwz mixtape 028.

How's this whole mixtape thing working out for you? What are your listening patterns? Do you think of them as compilation albums, or a radio show? And why do they provoke so little actual discussion of music?

Tags: , ,
Current Music: as noted

41 Responses:

  1. azul_ros says:

    I've only had time to listen to 3 of them, sadly. I like what I've heard so far.

  2. boggyb says:

    Eh, I listen to them occasionally. Should probably do so more, I usually like them and I've discovered some good artists through them (I think I've only heard one or two of the tracks before, scross all the tapes).

    They come across more as a raido show than compilation album, I think mainly due to the delivery system (continuous stream rather than segmented download). You can't jump to a specific track on radio.

    As to music discussion... when I listen to them, I've usually got it going in the background, and I'm not paying that much attention.

  3. njsf says:

    Jamie, your mix tapes have been the primary source of music while I work.
    I have discovered some cool new (to me) artists.

    I think of it as a "radio show" very much like NPR's All Songs considered.

    I think that the reason they don't provoke much discussion of music is because it is difficult to do so an a pretty blank slate. Also, I would discuss the music more, if I knew what kind of discussion you are looking for.

    Is it the "I like, I don't like", "Song X is similar to Y", "It is clear that artist X will be big/remain underground", all of the above?

  4. wikkit42 says:

    It's interesting, I've played some of them. Though I haven't really listened to them, as I don't typically do that on the computer.

    iTunes won't pause them correctly, which means I rarely get all the way through.

    As for discussion, it's fairly impossible to have a reasonable discussion on an artist based on one track, and any discussion of a single track has a very small possible length without getting pretentious.

  5. volk007 says:

    They are great. For me it's like the radio with the new stuff I mostly like.

    The only grief is that I can't see artist lists for the old ones.

    • fu3dotorg says:

      Look through the 'mixtape' tag, and see if you can't find a link to a back-catalogue-preserving resource in one of the threads.. - I'm sure something like that has been mentioned before.

      • fu3dotorg says:

        As for the original questionnaire, I keep the iPod loaded with all the tracks released up to any point, and promote each track to four or five-star-rating initially.

        Whatever I decide to weed out I make sure to demote to three-or-less star rating; everything that is left is kept in my main playlist mix (which is almost always either 'my favourites' or '25 top played')

        The songs I end up liking from JWZ Mixtapes gets played a ton, overall. - Often i re-evaluate the demoted tracks, too, as they are all there on the Touch, regardless.

  6. baconmonkey says:

    the Dominion track gave me an idea for a challenge for you.
    The artist must have part of it's name in the previous track's name.

    Gerrard McMann - Cry Little Sister
    Sisters of Mercy - Dominion/Mother Russia
    Dominion - pushing forward

    for bonus points, make last song contain first band's name.

  7. mendel says:

    I enjoy 'em. Although rarely right away -- I grab them right away and often don't get around to listening for a few days or longer.

    As for discussion: they go straight onto my mp3 player, and the other people on the bus never want to hear what I think about it. (Or they go onto the communal ipod-dock-speakers at work, which I guess is as much like a radio show as you can get.)

  8. waider says:

    > How's this whole mixtape thing working out for you?

    Pretty good, but that's a question with no useful answer given the more detailed questions that follow.

    > What are your listening patterns?

    I grab them on Sundays, feed them to the iPod, and listen to them on Mondays on my commute. We have already acknowledged that it is technologically impossible for me to do this, so that's ok. Currently, my iPod is complaining that it can't hold all eleventy-dozen TED clips, and would I please stop syncing podcasts to it until I've cut them down some, at which point I get annoyed that Apple has put so little effort into the podcasting portion of iTunes (would it hurt to just sync as much as fits, and leave the rest out, hmm?) and go off on a crazy rant.

    But I digress. As noted, I usually listen to the mixtapes on my office commute on Mondays, sometimes spilling over into Tuesday if there's stuff I wasn't paying attention to or if I've something else for the commute, like a book.

    I should note that my use of the impossible technology is such that I have the mixtape as one giant MP3 with no useful tags as opposed to 20-odd tunes. As such, I generally have no clue what I'm listening to.

    > Do you think of them as compilation albums, or a radio show?

    Compilation albums. I don't have any plausible explanation for this; I do have a pathological dislike for radio in general, so maybe that's it.

    > And why do they provoke so little actual discussion of music?

    For me: It's been a long time since I purchased a compilation CD, but when I last did, I did not go to my place of employment (or place of entertainment) the following day and tell everyone about this great track on the album that, like, totally blew my mind. As such, I think I am less likely to do so here, since people don't know me and therefore my opinion is just a random voice. More to the point, you've already expressed some dismay at people saying, "oh, track 5 reminds me of this other thing I once heard", which is quite possibly the sort of thing I'm apt to say. Or even have said. The other thing I'll likely do is pick out a drum beat, or a bass line, which I understand also tends to annoy people as a form of music commentary. In summary, I don't feel I have a useful voice when it comes to commenting on music (despite some attempts on my own website) so I tend not to bother.

    Having said all that, thanks for the tapes. There's a lot of stuff in there that I wouldn't otherwise have heard of, and if I payed more attention to the artists involved I would probably be spending more time at my local CD pusher.

    • jwz says:

      More to the point, you've already expressed some dismay at people saying, "oh, track 5 reminds me of this other thing I once heard",

      Have I? I don't remember. I do remember expressing dismay at the usual set of comments that seemed to be of the form, "I have only read the track listing and not actually heard any of the songs, but I feel like I have a dumb joke to make anyway." But I'd count those as "not actual discussions of music." I think that "if you like X you might like Y" is a fine conversation to have.

      • waider says:

        Yes, following up weeks later to respond to this... you've got a far wider musical selection than I have. As such, it seems like there's little enough I could suggest as you most likely already have it. Case in point, on listening to #27, I thought, "you know, Snakedriver would really fit in nicely here" and lo and behold it was the next track on the mix. See also my previous comment regarding Graeme Revelle.

        Not trying to be fanboyishly "I'm not worthy" here, just simply observing that facts of the situation.

        While I'm on the topic, I am curious: are these tapes "stuff jwz likes", "stuff jwz thinks people will like", "stuff jwz found in the sock drawer and must share with others to disperse the weird/hurt/etc", "stuff jwz loathes but hears it at his own damn club", or some combination of these and other groupings?

        • jwz says:

          It's all "stuff I like" with an occasional smattering of "weird/funny", which I tend to stick at the end. And except for the retro or otherwise-themed mixes, I've been aiming for 1/4th or better "stuff I've gotten recently".

          The mechanism by which I choose tracks is... still under active development.

    • voidrandom says:

      This mostly describes my experience, especially the problem with the lack of useful tags after impossible technology has been used to load them into my iPod. In general, I don't have enough musical background to make intelligent comments and it's awkward enough to determine which track is what that I don't bother spending the time.

      I think of them as mixtapes. But then I'm old enough to still have mixtapes made by friends in 1979 in my otherwise limited collection.

      As I'm really not much of a music person, your mixtapes have been invaluable in exposing me to music I'm very unlikely to seek out for myself. It's probably making me a better person somehow. Thanks for taking the time to make them.

  9. wronghunter says:

    Well, to be honest, I'm not as musically knowledgeable as you, and so while I'm capable of stating, "wow, I'm really liking the High Violets," I'm never quite sure if that qualifies as discussion, per se.

    Also, due to things I may or may not do that you may or may not want to know about, I often don't hear the mixtapes in full until several days have gone by, and by then it's not just low-level discussion, but stale, too.

    That said, I really appreciate you putting these up. I'd say 75% of the music I've bought in the past six months has been directly due to hearing something I've liked on the mixtapes.

  10. 2ce says:

    You actually play a whole lot of music that I've never heard before. (As in, never heard of the artist and unfamiliar with the genre.) And there are stylistic unities in the selection that suggest expertise in that constellation of genres or membership in that scene, which in turn makes me reluctant to shoot my mouth off lest I come off as a n00b. So for now, I've just been listening and absorbing.

    (--Radio show, not compilation album. I tend to listen in the early morning. Streaming only, I don't bother with the dark arts for these. Also, thank you for playing shaneface's band.)

  11. jayp39 says:

    To be honest I would love to listen to them, but I don't because it's not terribly convenient. As others have mentioned, you can't skip around (and I like a lot of the stuff you put on them but I've come across some stuff that I really don't like and would like to skip).

    I'm actually working on a product that would allow you to create a mix with any music that you have on your computer, or don't if it's already in the system, that would: allow people to go forward and backward, work on any platform, etc. Your mix tapes (and my and others complaints with them) have definitely been an inspiration in the way we're making it.

    My question is: if it doesn't suck balls, will you use it? Or do you prefer the format you've come up with?

    • relaxing says:

      If it doesn't suck balls like muxtape. But the issue I believe is with legality.

      • jayp39 says:

        Yeah I'm not a fan of muxtape either.

        I can't speak in any official capacity about the issue but it's basically in the legal gray area. It's not possible to have distribution licenses for 100% of the content at this time because labels want to see results before they'll consider signing, even though that means not being 100% legal, which of course means people are less likely to use the service. Yes, the music industry is still retarded. Surprise! Anyway, even without necessarily having distribution agreements, royalties are paid for each song played and we have DCMA compliance so for all intents and purposes, it's close enough.

  12. ammonoid says:

    I really loved this one - I went and downloaded the Love is Colder than Death Album after listening to it and really like it. So thanks!

  13. schoschie says:

    Thank you for the mixtapes! I've listened to about five so far, and immediately liked a couple of songs. Also, as many here have noted, it's an interesting way to get to know new music. I didn't know most any of the bands before.

    But for the last two months I've been working at a place where I can't listen to streamed audio (all network traffic goes through a proxy and it only forwards some ports). I was going to record a couple of streams at home, but forgot. I've been using StreamRipperX to record some other net radio streams, and it does split the stream into individual songs if it gets the right metadata. BTW, do you know of any other way elegant to do this on the Mac?

  14. I, like others before me, don't listen to the mixtapes right away. It usually takes me a week or so before I actually listen to the thing all the way through. While I generally like the music, I am also generally incapable of forming a coherent, meaningful opinion on said music it seems. That, combined with the age of the comment thread by the time I listen to the tape (someone mentioned stale, that's a good description), makes me reluctant to comment. It's probably an instinct trained into me by forums that frown upon thread necromancy.
    Perhaps livejournal posts aren't the best form of opinion solicitation for this particular media type. Perhaps something like a forum, with a board for each tape would be better. I don't if you want to go that far just for my opinion.
    Even so, I do enjoy the mixtapes. They are a big reason for me to frequent your site. Well, them and tentacled furries with lactation fetishes. Mmmm...

  15. dougo says:

    I think of them as a radio show. I only listen to each one once, because I already have lots of my own music that I don't listen to enough, not to mention all the other music on the Internet (and I still can't get Muxtape to work in Firefox on Ubuntu). It's mostly background music while I'm hacking or whatever, but I will often think "huh, this is cool", glance up at the track display to see who it is, and then go back to hacking and promptly forget who it was.

    I only wish audioscrobbler would parse m3u streams, so I could get credit for listening. Gotta make my way up that high score list...

  16. relaxing says:

    I've only listened to a few, because I frequently can't block off 90 minutes of uninterrupted listening. Which is sort of my own mental block: if I can't finish the entire thing, I might as well not start.

    They're a radio show, because I can pause and skip tracks on a compilation album.

    Maybe if you posted a few thoughts to start off the discussion, that would help get people talking about the music.

  17. elliterati says:

    I am a huge fan of the mixtapes. It has become part of my Sunday ritual to use my powers of mutation to copy them onto my iPod for listening in the future.

    I tend to listen to everything on shuffle on the iPod, so I'm not necessarily getting the mixtapes in sequence or theme. (Although I have been quite amused trying to guess themes from the track listings.)

    I've noticed that you and I have quite similar tastes - I think I own about 50% of what you put on any given mix. This isn't a bad thing, as the stuff I have already is a pleasant surprise, and the stuff I don't often gives me something to look into.

    How much new music do you get from live shows? I find that that's my main way of finding new stuff these days. My friends always get annoyed at me because I like to get to shows early to see opening bands - that's where some of my greatest finds have come from. (Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Sixteen Horsepower, Stewart, A Place to Bury Strangers, Annuals, The Jai-Alai Savant...)

    • SCAC is such an AMAZING live experience, holy crap. Also love Sixteen Horsepower, but haven't seen them yet!

      • elliterati says:

        Sadly, Sixteen Horsepower broke up. A couple of the guys play in Woven Hand, who is also excellent and currently touring.

        Oddly enough, I discovered SCAC opening for Sixteen Horsepower, who I discovered opening for Shane McGowan - one of the rare occasions where Shane actually showed up. :)

    • jwz says:

      I always try to get to shows in time to see the openers, but I haven't actually been seeing very many live shows lately, so that's not really a primary source. I've always thought it was weird when people intentionally try to miss openers that they've never heard of.

      • elliterati says:

        I don't get it either. You're paying for it, right? Might as well see them, and if they suck, go play pool or get a beer or something, or spend time mocking them...

      • dzm6 says:

        I run a web site for a band. There's a forum. Often, when the band goes on brief tours, a certain number of New People show up on the forums asking "When will XXXX go on? I want to get really 'loose' for the show, and the venue is too expensive. I'm just going to skip the openers and drink a few blocks away, then get there just before XXXX starts and push my way to the front!"

        I always tell them that XXXX starts their set at midnight.

        I love watching the openers. It's been a real hit-or-miss experience, but I've found some of my (now) favorite artists by being at the venue two hours before the main act.

  18. darrylb42 says:

    I generally enjoy the mixtapes, I listen to them like the radio. Radio, because like the radio I can't skip, or know what I am listening too. I know you provide a track list and for some songs it is possible to determine what it is, but for others not. And it is background music for working.

    I use Windows Media Player to listen to the mixtapes, it allows you to pause, and resume. I have used VLC in the past, it gets the meta data and tells you what track you are on, but pausing breaks the stream.

    Like a few of the other commentators have noted, I have no expertise around music and don't normally discuss it, other then I like that, or don't like this.

    On of the reasons I like the mix tapes is that the music usually falls on the I like it side of things, yet it is also outside of what I normally listen to.

  19. I can't keep up. I tried, but I just don't have enough time on my hands, plus I need to re-listen to stuff for a week or two before I know what I really think about it. I could listen to maybe a half or a third of what you're doing right now.

  20. cattycritic says:

    for me I almost never end up listening to a whole one b/c I'm usually @ work, and I don't sit down or not listen to anything else (like my manager) for long enough. Gets frustrating b/c then I have to start the dang thing all over again :) And I tend to like about 1/2 of what's in them. *shrug* so I listen occasionally.

    Musical taste is so personal anyway. I don't generally discuss music unless it's with my band mates, and then it's all stuff about how to play it or what songs to play.

    btw - sorry if this is already posted somewhere else - where are the pre-026 mixtapes?

  21. jmtd says:

    I've listened to one or two and I've loved them and I want to listen to more. What stops me is stupid tools in my environment. I don't want to listen to the mixtape end-to-end; I listen at work so it'll be in at least two halves. The streaming tools I've tried (totem etc.) can't cope with long pauses and reset to the start of the stream, the ripping tools I've tried completely fail to work behind a HTTP proxy (which is mandatory at my office unfortunately).

    I'm contemplating ripping the stream at home and bringing the result to work, but I haven't tried that yet.

    The ones I have listened to I've thoroughly enjoyed. I really value this way of catching artists. I grabbed everything I could by Hexane after hearing it in one of the mixtapes, for example.

    I can understand why you aren't able to provide much in the way of advice for ripping tools, but if a fellow reader has in mind a great, proxy-aware ripper for Linux/UNIX environments, I'd be very happy.

  22. tooluser says:

    I'm loving the streams, and appreciate your time building them. I concur that a bit of curatorial commentary would go a long way. I'm speaking from the perspective of someone who is learning a bit about the genre, but I imagine everyone would enjoy your commentary.

    Specifically for this tape:

    I tend to partition this music into two types:

    * "I hate everything and am skinny and wearing leather, let's cut each other and fuck in a tiny, noisy world."
    * "I hate everything and am very skinny, I'm going to cut myself and watch my blood pool on the bottom of an elevator shaft in an abandoned building."

    Motorcycles combine well with the first. Mixtape 028 was shortening my Bay Bridge commute time dangerously until I hit 'Her Trembling Hands', at which point I almost threw myself under a minivan.

    so I found that transition a bit jarring, because up until then it was thumbs-up blood and sex. Nothing wrong with elevator shafts, understand; I just found it incongruous.

  23. omni_ferret says:

    I tend to listen to each mixtape a couple of times, mulling over specific tracks on later listens. There tend to be a couple of standout songs I want to check out later.

    I think it's like a radio show. Feel free to repeat tracks. Or possibly even talk. (Watched Pump Up the Volume lately?)

    (Was that was the third Invisibles reference in a week?)