Finally in this little three-post burst on shuffling and selecting, let's remind ourselves of why we're interested in the first place with this absolutely fantastic piece around mixtapes and playlists by absolute leg-end and real-life-super-hero Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth. It's almost poetry, and super-smart to boot.
"I also needed to hear these records in a more time-fluid way, and it hit me that I could make a mix tape of all the best songs. So I made what I thought was the most killer hardcore tape ever. I wrote H on one side, and C on the other. That night, after my love Kim had fallen asleep, I put the tape in our stereo cassette player, dragged one of the little speakers over to the bed, and listened to it at ultralow thrash volume. I was in a state of humming bliss. This music had every cell and fiber in my body on heavy sizzle mode. It was sweet."
I love his phrase "I also needed to hear these records in a more time-fluid way", and this:
"These days, CD technology has displaced the cassette in the mainstream, and mix CDs have become the new cultural love letter/trading post. For those of us who think that digital delivers a harsher sound than analog, it's a sonic nightmare dealing with the new world reality of MP3s. They're even more compressed and harsh than CDs, and in the case of vintage grooves - be it Led Zeppelin, Bad Brains, or Pavement - sound even more detached from musical vibration. But even if MP3 music sounds lame, as long as it's recognizable in form, free, and shareable, it's here to stay. It will get better as more sophisticated methods of replication emerge. For now, its clunk is glamorized by celebrity iTunes playlists. ITunes has become the Hallmark card of mix tapes - all you gotta do is sign your name to personalize it ... (H)ome taping (in the form of ripping and burning) ... simply exists as a nod to the true love and ego involved in sharing music with friends and lovers. Trying to control music sharing ... is like trying to control an affair of the heart. Nothing will stop it." [my emphasis]
Apparently adapted from Mix Tape: The Art of Cassette Culture, which is edited by Thurston Moore, is out in a few days over here, and sounds well promising.