Friday, October 5, 2012

Adventures in Mix Making

In an earlier post I mentioned that I'm involved with some ruffians in a mix club. The basic premise is that we're taking turns creating Spotify playlists and posting them on the Facebooks. Wild stuff. My turn finally came around this week, which is good because I've been crafting this sucker for about a month and I'm damn near sick of it.

In any case, I thought I'd post it here (since who doesn't like a little injection of new music) and tell you a bit about it. (Hiyo process story!)

One of my favorite conversations has always been about how people make mixes. For me, my default mode is finding music that matches sound-wise, whether it's jangly indie guitar, or breathy songwriter stuff, or whatever. For this mix I got stuck on what I consider to be a kind of dirty guitar sound. I went through about 4 drafts of the mix before I settled. The biggest challenge was dealing with Spotify, which sadly lacks many of the tracks that I was most excited about including, like:

A Story of Nashville by Oblio
Nice by Thisway
The Silence Between Us by Bob Mould
Sewn Together by The Meat Puppets

Bad luck, right? I think I found suitable replacements. It sounded ok when I took the final incarnation for a test drive yesterday. Oh, and that's the other thing. I test drive my mixes. Before anyone else hears one, I've heard it at least twice.  One positive turn that came from the swap outs, is that I got to put "Trouble Comes Running" by Spoon back in. The song hadn't survived the first draft edits, but somehow at the end, it was just what I needed.

The name of the mix comes from a line in the second track "Good To Be" by Backyard Tire Fire. I think basic mix protocol is to use a lyric that somehow fits the mix. In this case, I picked "I Just Don't Know When to Stop" because most of the songs are upbeat and energetic, and that violates my pacing rule of putting in two slow songs in the middle and a kind of slow song second to last. I tried. Sort of did it. But you know, I hate slow songs. I want a mix, not an Ambien.

Ok. Quick word about some of the artists. The past few years, I've had a hard time making a mix that didn't include Brendan Benson. His 2005 album Alternative to Love is a mix maker's dream. "Feel Like Myself Again" is the kind of song that'll get you through a gloomy afternoon. Suzanne Vega's "Frank & Ava" is  probably one of my most listened to songs. Her lyrics are *mwuah* excellent. I also got to work in the very first Wilco song I ever knew, one that I actually had the lyrics to in my high school locker. Then there's the Candy Butchers, the most underrated pop/rock act of the 90s. Also, let's not forget Pictures and Sound, from Nashville dude Luke Reynolds. Again, you want to talk about under-appreciated, Picture and Sound's one and only album had more than a few standouts.

Anyway, that's enough about that. If you're so inclined, give it a listen. Happy Friday.

No comments: