Your Mix Fix: Captain Planet

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The word mixtape has plenty of different interpretations. It used to be that mixtapes were actually DJ sets recorded on cassette tapes, but with the coming of the digital music age, the name remained the same, but the definition expanded. Nowadays, people call mixtapes many different things, some of which are not necessarily mixed and most of which were never taped. Here we try to cover them all. In this column, Juan Data gives you a worthy one every week.

MIXTAPE: Mystery Trip, Vol. 1

After more than two years of doing this weekly column reviewing mixtapes–I have to be honest–sometimes I don’t know what to say anymore. So many mixtapes out there are simply more of the same. At other times, however, I get to review things like this and I have so many good things to say that I can’t fit them all into this short blurb format.

Inspired by the mixing style and aesthetics of Madlib‘s Medicine Show series (a personal favorite of mine), L.A.’s Captain Planet put together this ambitious project by carefully selecting rare funky breaks and tunes from dusty vinyl records he dug out during musical archeology visits to the most exotic corners of the world (including, of course, plenty of stops in Latin America). He sampled, remixed, and edited those tracks and then lined them all up in this sort of DJ session that doesn’t resemble the type of mix a DJ would do live at a party. It’s more like a radio show or a road trip mixtape (or a psychedelic trip, if I may).

Now, with the intention of keeping it as close as possible to the idea of what an original mixtape is, or used to be, Captain Planet recorded this first volume of the Mystery Trip series as if it was actually going to be heard on a cassette tape. When you get to the middle mark (around minute 24), it suddenly goes mute and then there’s the sound of a cassette being flipped onto the B-side (you need to be old enough to recognize that sound to appreciate the beauty of it).

Well, guess what? You can actually listen to this mixtape on cassette. In fact, it’s the only way it’s commercially available! And if you buy the cassette, you get the free download of both the mix and the separate tracks in MP3 format. Don’t have one of those bulky contraptions that play tapes? Don’t worry. You can buy the tape together with a custom painted walkman (that’s the analog great-grandfather of the iPod for you kids).

Too retro and obscure for your untrained ears? Stick around, and maybe next week I’ll have a mixtape that features songs you can actually sing along to (and once again I will have a hard time keeping up with this column).