Selected Works 2018-2021
This album originally was going to be an NFT, but I thought better of it.
I was looking for a way to do a retrospective that avoided the invisibility and devaluation that streaming creates, while simultaneously working around platform scarcity issues inherent to vinyl, and to an ever-increasing degree, CDs.
For a moment, it appeared that NFTs might solve a host of issues that have been created by music moving almost exclusively into the online space, namely the ability to make an honest living making recorded music. However – at this point, it still seems to be a rich man’s 8 track, with some not completely unfounded environmental concerns, and fairly anathema to my more populist and/or proletariat leanings. I wanted this music to be easier to hear, not harder, but I still wanted it to have value. What you are holding is the solution, such as I was able to come up with anyway.
All of these songs trace their origins back to the three records I have released on my own label (All The Way Down Music) and made in my humble little studio here on the Pasadena/Altadena border; All The Way Down (2018), The Heavy Weight and the Lift (2019) and The Great Quarantino (2020). Having said that – these are not the versions that appeared on those records. In each case, I went back and not only remixed and remastered them – I redid a number of the takes within the songs themselves. Ask any recording artist and they’ll tell you that when they listen to their own published work – most of the time all they hear are the tiny mistakes and missed opportunities forever burned into the master. This was a chance for me to go fix all of those on the songs I liked the most. Imagine the luxury of being able to retake your drivers license photo, and that will get you pretty close to the feeling.
While medium of this USB cassette was chosen for its immediate practicality and (to a lesser extent) its retro sentimentality, the chief selling point for this medium was its ability to be written over and repurposed by the end user.
On the drive of this cassette is a folder of templates you can use to reskin both this cassette and its J card (the printed sleeve in the case). The idea being that, should you so desire, you can pull my content off of here and store it elsewhere, wipe the drive, and make your own “mixtape” to give to someone.
Growing up – the ritual of making mix tapes on recordable cassette tape was an almost holy rite, and decades later I can remember the entire playlists of my favorites that I either made or was given. Little teenage symphonies of meticulously selected music done with the focused passion and thoughtfulness of the world’s greatest music supervisors. So many of my memories are tied to specific tapes made by the Great Masters of the form like my Aunt Dot or Johnny Cassidy.
Almost every great romance or relationship in my life started with the making of a mixtape. It distills the functionality of music to its purest first-order function – perfectly articulating complex emotional statements in a language that’s easy to understand but often performatively out of our reach. The job of music and musicians is to say what everyone is thinking or feeling and just couldn’t express it in fullness themselves. So, we make each other mixtapes to do the heavy lifting. Music is an incredible tool to have in your emotional toolbox, and when done correctly, picking songs can almost be as important work as writing them.
I hope you avail yourself of the chance to relive this glorious holy ritual, and I hope even more you have a special someone you can’t wait to do it for.
I’m pretty reachable. Let me know how it goes.