Cinnamon Dinosaur: Word Vomit for Break Time
vol. 1 issue .1
Mix Tapes + Futures
The creation of a great mix tape is something that shouldn't be rushed. In fact, the creation of the mixtape is not unlike that of a relationship- you meet, flirt, determine the relationship, and then you are in a relationship. It becomes complicated when you find out later that maybe you didn't take enough time getting to know one another and now you feel like a jerk because you don't know what to do to resolve it. This is still about mixtapes by the way. I unfortunately almost always get impatient when it comes to putting together a solid mix and I end up throwing a bunch of songs that I want to hear "in the moment" on a burnlist that ends up getting listened to about one time before I realize it wasn't what I really wanted, and then ends up getting tossed in the trash when I don't know what to do with it. If your creative endeavor has any "soul" to it it makes a difference. Think of it like a Pablo Neruda poem or a really existential thought given by someone with great insight (charlie sheen doesn't count). When you finally begin to understand why you are doing something in the first place, the actual creative process does become a whole lot easier.
When I was in High School I didn't have a CD burner. I used to write down songs that I wanted and compile them into elongated lists which I would frequently peddle around- begging for someone to burn for me. I was poor, as most High School kids are, and devastatingly living (in my opinion) without a computer that allowed access to such things as NAPSTER or even CD ripping, I was stuck recording them onto cassette tapes as soon as they came onto the radio, which usually was at the spur of the moment and usually without the conveinance of actually recording from start to finish, instead of actually buying the full CDs like someone with money would do. Those lists I was mentioning would literally go through about 10 different variations before my best friend in High School, Kyle Gettman, would agree burn them for me, usually in exchange for my lunch. When I finally got the CD from him, which always seemed to take like 2 months to actually process, I was always blown away by how well the songs actually fit together. In this day and age we have been spoiled by PANDORA, iTunes GENIUS, and other similar systems that setup algorithms to determine the best ways to pair our favorite aritsts or songs. But if we really want to create something with our own sense of personality, we have to be able to put those "shortcuts" aside and determine how to take the journey somewhat blind. That's the hard part, and it sucks sometimes. Sometimes I would actually give up halfway and wouldn't make another mix for months because of it.
The truth is that: My girlfriend is much better at creating mixtapes than I am... But if you have a remotely sensible head for music on your shoulders, what you really need is a motivator. Creating a great mixtape isn't really about the mixtape at all, its about facing/encountering an emotion, or an idea, or an event, or a person and then expressing what you want to say about such things through the creative talents of other people.... pretty original.
"You have to go in with a theme, an idea, a premise-- then you let it work its way into something really solid, something solid-ifiable."
Today I sat down to try and come up with a concept for a mixtape. The last three that I have down were thrown together in about 5 minutes each and I think I may have just tossed the disc after a single listening experience. It took me about an hour to really come up with a good concept, because like I said it really comes down to what you are "encountering", and ironically it was inspired by a bunch of bands that I really hated in High School. Its ironic that dwelling on music you hate can help you remember all of the music that you used to like, or that you still do like and tote around in front of others reminding them of how long you have actually been a fan. Now even if you have been a fan forever there will always be those people who love to fake it to win friends in conversation, for e.g.- I had this friend who used to go around saying that they had been listening to Radiohead since Pablo Honey but secretly only picked up In Rainbows at Starbucks last year and wanted to seem "indie". That seems kinda fake to me, and also a little bit shameful- shame on you man. So as I was beginning to narrow down my variety of options I actually found a few songs that I used to love and actually still do! That was a real challenge as my musical tastes have changed more than Gaga's dress's at the VMAs... yeah I went there.
"With all the Bieberfever going around, I better get my shots up to date."
So after finally burning the disc, I got in my car and I drove... I drove all the way until the mixtape finished and had used up the remaining $10.00 of gas that I keep putting in my car. My choices ranged from Brandon Flowers to Weezer to Rage Against the Machine to Rod Stewart to Jimmy Eat World to Meatloaf and on through to Leonard Cohen. As I traveled, to a destination unknown, I was intent on finding something new and exciting to write down and share on this blog. Unfortunately in my haze of enjoying my accomplishment and the unintentional postmodernism that regularly creeps into my mind when attempting to nail something down, I came out on the other side feeling like I didn't really learn anything new. I had mentioned on my other blog (over at themiddleaisle.tumblr.com) that I have been itching to drive cross country, and perhaps attempt to do something like what Klosterman does in "Killing Yourself to Live", but without a real sense of time/money to apply to such an endeavor makes it difficult to decide when that will actually happen. Regardless of whether or not I actually found "myself" or whatever it is that I am trying to say, those 55 minutes in the car did make me realize a few things. I realized that the actual experience of having no identifiable destination, regardless of the amount of time you spend on it, is actually kind of a destination itself. I know that Klosterman talked about that in his book, sorta kinda, but it didn't really click with me until today. I guess that when you have a motivator to fall back onto, in this case a mixtape, you feel compelled to answer those questions that you with greater triumph than you would if you simply went at it out of obligation. Perhaps we determine our destinations just like we determine what goes on our mixtapes- through careful precision and open mindedness. Or something like that.
2011- Cinnamon Dinosaur