Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Victor's Ultimate Birthday Mega Mix '11

I just want to start off with a grand formal final thank you to everyone who acknowledged my birthday last month from those who actually brought me gifts or hung around with me until the wee hours at the bar to those Facebook friends who I have never met nor talked to but still manage to post a birthday greeting on my wall every year like clockwork and everyone in between (don't think I didn't forget you, automatic emails from internet sites I've registered with). If I had to spend a whole day being reminded of the depressing, immutable truth of my mortality I guess there were worse ways to have spent it.

One of the most notable things about this year's birthday was the unexpected motherlode of birthday mix CDs I received. In my largest haul yet, I got five fully loaded CD-Rs comprising of over 120 songs and individual artists (although there were two Ash songs, the only repeat artist throughout). Fortunately I had just recently started a job that involved about a one hour driving commute (personally, I believe driving on a highway is the single most ideal position for listening to music) round trip so it all oddly serendipitous. So after finally making my way through all the CDs, getting around to uploading them, and giving them a week or two of perspective I decided to make a 20 track compilation mix of my own to share with everyone featuring my top 4 selections from the 5 mixes.

Now these are by no means the most definitive of rankings. All of this is basically based on first impressions and maybe further listens down the line my tastes will change. However until then, just in time for summer, it's Victor's Ultimate Birthday Mega Mix '11 (a note on ordering: I tried to stay true to the original track orderings of the mixes; surprisingly there were only a few overlaps):

Now while you're enjoying the sweet tunes good reader ponder a question that I as a long time mix enthusiast have often pondered while listening to and making mixes: who is the mix reflecting? If you're making a mix for someone is it a reflection of yourself, the mix maker, with your tastes, personality, and preferences being represented in the music and arrangement that the listener is interpreting? Or is the individual receiving the mix finding something out about themselves from listening to a mix made specifically for them? Or is the mix you are making a reflection of what you think the mix listener's reflection of you is? This line of thinking can basically go on forever like one of those infinite recursion effects. I think the answer (as with all such questions with unsatisfying answers) lies somewhere in between. It's one of the enduring charms of the mix, both sides are getting perspectives on each other by uniquely interpreting the same list of songs (at least with a well crafted mix that someone actually put the work into, if you're going to dump 20 random songs together without any context or meaning you might as well be a psychopath mimicking human emotions and empathy).

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