33 1/3 Revolutions per Minute, Side B

Year: 1999
Original Format: cassette

Everything on here was originally recorded onto some kind of magnetic tape in the studio, then pressed onto vinyl. I recorded that vinyl onto a cassette in 1999; converted the cassette to mp3 a few weeks ago; then uploaded it to the miraculous Mixcloud. You’d think after all that it would sound tired, but it still sounds pretty great to me.

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33 1/3 Revolutions per Minute, Side A

Year: 1999
Original Format: cassette

This was my tribute to vinyl and also, I thought, a fond farewell. At the time CDs had been the dominant medium for a decade, and there was no way of knowing vinyl would make the comeback it has. I’m happy for it, though I find the whole phenomenon surprising and a little confusing.

As for the artwork: I honestly can’t remember. I was smoking a lot of weed at the time, that may have had something to do with it.

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It’s Happening, Side B

Year: 1996
Original Format: cassette

There’s a sort of narrative here: an extraterrestrial lands; is initially welcomed; meets a woman; is pursued by sinister forces; and in the end decides to return whence he came. It bears some resemblance to the plot of the John Carpenter/Jeff Bridges movie Starman, which I haven’t seen for many, many years. Apparently the Starman comes in response to the Voyager Golden Record, but at no point is he heard to say “Send more Chuck Berry.”

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Gangsters & Pranksters, Side B

Year: 1996
Original Format: cassette

This one has some trace of a narrative arc: Our hero tries to go straight, but is betrayed and pulled back into the criminal life; some scores are made and adventures had; but in the end the outlaw must die — because how else will we learn our lesson?

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Gangsters & Pranksters, Side A

Year: 1996
Original Format: cassette

These were the days of elaborate mixtape packaging. For this one I went so far as to commission custom artwork for the cover (which meant I asked my friend James to do a painting — isn’t it great?). The liner notes were folded up and slid into a little envelope glued to the inside cover, and looked like this:

I suppose some of that time could have been used to, like, start a career or something. But on the whole, no regrets.

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