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Pop That Column: Mixed Tapes

Pop That Column: Mixed Tapes

My mix tapes seemed to represent various times in my life. I received one from a friend who decided when I came out as a lesbian that making me a tape was the only way to express her feelings about my coming out. While personal mixed tapes are still best, check out tapes from club nights including music by Moby, Little Boots, La Roux, Autokratz and Hercules and Love Affair.

There is something really special about receiving a mix tape. Whatever format it is delivered in, it is something that has been made personally for you, by someone either a) trying to musically or otherwise impress you or b) to revamp your music collection.

In the last 7 months, I’ve moved house twice, once was back to my parents after five years of living in Brighton for University. I’d acquired a serious amount of crap along the way, so after a clear-out of my room, I discovered some old mixes that aforementioned people had made me over the years. I think it’s about time that we relive this era of sending each other such heartfelt statements via music.

For me, my mix tapes seemed to represent various times in my life. I received one from a friend who decided when I came out that making me a tape was the only way to express her feelings about my coming out. It wasn’t because she realised some deep-rooted feelings after I told her, but she simply wanted to show her support through music. That was almost 10 years ago now, so cassette tapes were still -- just about -- being used.

She made an “A” side and a “B” side and methodically decided the songs in order of their relevance to my situation. The tape featured songs from everyone’s favourite teen drama Dawson’s Creek, a few Jefferson Aeroplane songs and some weird and wonderful songs about girls, basically. It was possibly the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me. Now I marvel at the wonders of presents before the Internet came about.

One of my most recent mixes was a CD from someone on whom I had a massive crush. She’d spent the time to design a really cool foldout cover out of old magazines with bits of art stuck on and the song titles all written in the most beautiful calligraphy. She had made it really unique to me, and in the mean time probably doubled my crush on her. I’m glad she never asked for one back as I think I would have failed miserably other than putting some songs on a CD for her.

The mix CD was full of dance and electro delights -- a great Swedish electro band Lo Fi Fnk, some awesome Fake Blood remixes that I didn’t have that were before the hype over ‘who is Fake Blood’ started (He’s DJ Touché for those who are interested) and some more great Alex Metric remixes which, as I have mentioned before, are these dirty little dance numbers bound to make you move your feet.

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The whole CD got some serious airplay on my iPod and on loud in my room when I had the house to myself. It’s my top album played in iTunes, even beating Hot Chip to the post -- my favourite band of all time. The girl did well.

On my blog I decided that one of my main things to write about would be mix tapes -- to track down the very best in DJ’s offerings and early mixes from current chart toppers. There are some incredible offerings including a mixtape Moby made a few years ago full of electro that seems to only just be making its way in to the clubs. There’s a great summery feel to the Clique mix tapes, Clique is a big Manchester club night and they offer a few mixes for its dancers around three or four times a year. They are pop and remix delights and there is always bound to be some tracks that aren’t listed to make you do the legwork and discover what it is.

Somewhere in the Universe is a club night in Brighton I used to attend. It’s showcased incredible live acts over the last few years including Little Boots, La Roux, Autokratz and Hercules and Love Affair, to name but a few. They’ve just realised an amazing summer mixtape that I cannot stop listening to.

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It’s worth having a look around the Internet for some inspiration in to new music. Often, you’ll come across a mix from a band or a DJ that showcases what their music is all about. There are also great websites like that hold masses of play lists made by listeners who want to share what they’ve found through music service Spotify.

I’d like to hear about your mixtape heaven and hell, so please get in touch either through here or on my blog at I’ve never had a bad mix tape -- maybe apart from when someone recorded themselves badly playing the guitar and singing and gave it to me to put on my blog. Sadly I didn’t want to expose anyone else to that. But I want to know about the songs that people have given to you and the reasoning behind it! 

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Polly Applegate