Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mixin' it up

Awhile back when I wrote here that I'd only ever made 1 mix tape 4 NE1, I musta 4got10 a couple. At the very least, I can say I've never made NE other mix tapes 4 NE1 who was a love intrest of mine....
Back when I was working in the record store I made a tape of lotsa Gentle Giant stuff 4 a couple who Cmd 2 B really in2 them, & in2 my brand of Strange Music in general (they bot copies of Group 87, Sky, Pat Metheny, etc). Mosta that Gentle Giant stuff was outta print in the US at that time, so I didn't feel 2 guilty about making a tape 4 them (since they were sound-quality nuts they probly bot the albums later on vinyl or CD NEway). But my boss told me not 2 make a habit of it.
When I was at the Army and Air Force Hometown News Center (that place where I colored forms w/ yellow & purple markers 4 2 yrs), I made sevral tapes of off-the-wall art-rock & lite jazz 4 a news-story-composer named Marsha Surad who Cmd 2 B in2 off-the-wall stuff. I tried 2 impress her, but she never said if NEthing knocked her out. & 4 some reason I never asked. MayB cos I didn't want NE1 2 B disappointed w/ the music I loved, or 2 say 2 me: "Oh, so THIS is what U LIKE?"
The Gentle Giant "best-of" ran something like this:

Pentegruel's Nativity/Schooldays/The Advent of Panurge/Raconteur, Troubadour/Knots/The Runaway/An Inmate's Lullabye/Edge of Twilight/Proclamation/So Sincere/Cogs in Cogs/Valedictory/On Reflection/Free Hand/Time to Kill/His Last Voyage/Talybont/Peel the Paint/Mister Class and Quality/Power and the Glory

...In short, mosta the PRETENSIOUS import best-of, all the good stuff on FREE HAND, + the best remaining stuff on the GIANT STEPS import best-of. I would've added "Think of Me With Kindness" & the live version of "Funny Ways," but I hadn't heard either of those at that time.
I hadda theory about how all this stuff would fit 2gether. The couple I assembled the tape 4 weren't big fans of loudness (I knew their least-faverite track on FLEETWOOD MAC LIVE was "I'm So Afraid," they thot it was noise & I couldn't convince them that those guitar fireworks had a purpose & meaning), so if I was gonna include NEthing loud I'd havta ease them in2 it, or sneak it in.
So I figured "Pentegruel" & "Schooldays" would ease them in; "Panurge" wasn't 2 loud or jarring, or at least only briefly. "Raconteur" would lull them back in2 comfort so that they'd get thru the Ntwining vocals in "Knots," the breaking-glass intro 2 "Runaway," the dissonances of "So Sincere" & the rather computerized electronics in "Cogs in Cogs" (still 1 of my faves). If they survived "Knots" they'd have no trouble w/ "On Reflection," "Free Hand" was comparatively loud but they'd survive, & the sweet vocals in "Time to Kill" & "His Last Voyage" would lull them thru in2 the Gryphon-like sounds of "Talybont," & by the time they got 2 the jarring ugliness of the 2nd 1/2 of "Peel the Paint" (frankly included just 2 sorta fill space), they'd manage it. + I included the then-rare single-only title track 2 POWER AND THE GLORY.
Well, it worked, far as I know. I mean, they never complained. & whenever they came back in2 the shop they asked what kind of weird stuff I'd bn listening-2 lately. So I guess I didn't scare them off....
The tapes 4 Marsha were a lot more wide-ranging. I wanted 2 find stuff that'd knock her over. The tapes included:

Steve Tibbetts: "Ur"
Providence: "Fantasy Fugue"
Camel: "Breathless"/"Echoes"
Caravan: "The Dog, the Dog, He's At it Again"
Gryphon: "Lament"/"Spring Song"
Pat Metheny: "New Chatauqua"/"Ozark"/"Praise"/"The Search"
Lyle Mays: "Ascent"
Caravan: "Memory Lain/Hugh/Headloss"
Beach Boys: "Our Prayer"/"Cabinessence"/"Surf's Up"
Gryphon: "Ethelion"

Gryphon: "The Ploughboy's Dream"/"(Ein Klein) Heldenleben"
Kate Bush: "The Man With the Child in His Eyes"
Happy the Man: "Wind-Up Doll Day Wind"/"Open Book"
Camel: "Rhayader/Rhayader Goes to Town"/"Flight of the Snow Goose"
David Sancious and Tone: "The Play and Display of the Heart"
Kate Bush: "December Will Be Magic Again"
Sky: "Vivaldi"/"Scipio"/"Watching the Aeroplanes"
Providence: "If We Were Wise"
Fleetwood Mac: "Silver Springs"
Group 87: "One Night Away From Day"
Nektar: "It's All Over"

Yes: "Your Move"/"Turn of the Century"/"Wonderous Stories"
Sky: "Where Opposites Meet"
Mike Oldfield: "Incantations Part I"/"Ommadawn Part I"/"Arrival"
Genesis: "Your Own Special Way"/"Afterglow"
Caravan: "All the Way (With John Wayne's Single-Handed Liberation of Paris)"
Kate Bush: "Empty Bullring"

This is about the best I can do 4 a contents list, w/ my bad memory.
...I had theories about these, 2. Marsha had no problem w/ noise, & she'd heard John Coltrane & Miles Davis, so I wasn't worried about offending her w/ stuff that didn't "sound pretty." I opened w/ the guitar-meltdown of "Ur" 2 sorta clear-out her head, then tiptoed along w/ sweet vocal pieces like "Fantasy Fugue" & "Breathless," opened it up again w/ "Echoes," then combined the sweet vocal pieces w/ more complicated music in "The Dog, the Dog," & onward: the gorgeous suite form of "Lament," w/ vocals added on "Spring Song," & then in2 lite jazz w/ Pat Metheny & Lyle Mays.
Tried 2 balance the vocal pieces w/ the instrumentals thruout the rest, tho the last tape was pretty heavily instrumental. & I've always thot mix tapes should have their own dramatic momentum, a definite Bginning, middle & Nd, an Nd U can hear coming in the choice of music.
Tried 2 find stuff that was sweet, catchy, nice, atmospheric. Not 2 loud. Didn't include NE King Crimson. MayB should have, just 4 shock value. MayB added-on "Red" or "Starless" or "The Great Deceiver" or "Cat Food" at the Nd of a side, just 2 C how she'd react. Thinking about it now, I'm SURE I should have, just Bcos it woulda guaranteed a reaction.
I don't think Marsha ever told me what she thot of the music overall. I don't remember her ever saying NEthing, NEhow. I woulda bn thrilled if she'd said something like "Where can I find some more stuff like this?"
Ah well, at least she didn't complain....
Needless 2 say, I think U out there would like mosta these, 2... if U haven't heard them already....

No comments: