Thursday, 12 July 2018

The Disappearing Art Of The Mix Tape

THE DISAPPEARING ART OF THE MIX TAPE (320kbs-m4a/63mb/27mins)
BBC Radio 4 Extra broadcast: 16th May 2018

The home-made compilation cassette was a distillation of its maker's character and emotion

Let's face it: kids with MP3s don't know they're born; they'll never grasp the art of crafting a mix tape. It's something personal, the musical expression of a generation...

The cassette age was a temporary window in which the art form of the bedroom briefly shone. Nothing says I love you like spending five hours in front of a tape deck and record player, wearing out the pause button and your stylus. Summing up your emotions through the strictly limited vocabulary of a small pile of records and what you could steal off Radio 1's chart show. But the tape could communicate so much more than romantic intentions. The tape for a new friend explains what kind of person you want to be, the mix for an old and distant friend tells them the person you have become in their absence.

But the download has killed off the cassette - now everyone has access to an almost infinite record collection and playlists can be of unlimited length. Writer, broadcaster and former NME journalist, David Quantick celebrates that art form. We hear from compilation makers including novelist Iain Banks and poet Simon Armitage and hear some of their favourite mix tape tracks. A professor of medieval history tells us how he had sustained a 30 year friendship with an HMV store manager by exchanging tapes every month. And Elbow's Guy Garvey explains how his sister Becky inspired his musical career with the many cassettes she compiled for him...

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