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Showing posts from November, 2018

The Tragic and Fatal Art of Making a Mixtape

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There is an age-old mixtape code that does not allow for much recopying. The tape you make for one person should not be given to another. This does not stop these tapes from being recopied if they are good, usually by the receiver of said tape without the knowledge of the author, carrying on the tradition of musical choices and adding more variety to one's musical taste. Tapes can throw a monkey wrench into the works and introduce an interesting theme that needs to be carried on, or a genre that has not been explored. One of these types of thematic tapes turned me on to power pop, and more recently music blogs have taken over some of the work of mixtapes, introducing me to older rock and country stuff that I would have missed. Mixtape etiquette also assumes that the tape will be a labor of love. Now mixed CDs or playlists do not have to be listened to as they are made. Those old mixtapes required that the creator would have to listen to each song as they recorded it, in effect be…

Track This: Sun Ra's "Nuclear War"

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"If you're not mad at the world, you don't have what it takes. The world lacks for warriors. You have to prepare yourself accordingly." - Sun Ra

Sun Ra's 1982 song "Nuclear War" is an epic seven minute meditation on the state of violence in our world. I first heard Yo La Tengo's first version on WFMU's Beware of the Blog. It was an interesting choice for the New Jersey trio, even with their penchant for strange covers, in a particularly languid arrangement, but Sun Ra's original blew me away once I tracked it down and let it simmer for awhile. Sun Ra's bold anti-nuclear war sentiment coupled with swearing and funkiness that would do Funkadelic justice make this one of the strangest pleas for peace.

The track adds to the Sun Ra legend because apparently he thought it could be a successful single. In an Allmusic review of the Nuclear Waralbum, Al Campbell writes that Sun Ra was" so sure the funky dance track was a hit, he immediately …