Your Mix Fix: DJ Aware Serves Up Rare Vinyl Cuts from Panama

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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.

DJ: DJ Aware
MIXTAPE: Panama Summertime Mix

Not too long ago I was sharing the decks at a party with my buddy DJ Aware and a Panamanian girl from the crowd came up to the DJ booth and requested music from her homeland. I was like, “hey, talk to him,” pointing at DJ Aware, because I had none, but I knew for sure he would have plenty.

As you’ll be able to appreciate on this mixtape, Aware (the DJing alter-ego of Bay Area’s visual artist Cameron Thomson) is sort of an expert in rare, vintage Panamanian vinyl. A lot of that music never made it outside of Panama in its days, so for me it all counts as new and I love discovering new music from artists I’ve never heard about before (that funky cover of Piero’s “Mi Viejo” is so much better than the sappy original!). The Panamanian girl, however, was disappointed by his selection. She stood there waiting impatiently by the turntables until we informed her that whatever Cameron was playing at that very moment (which I’m pretty sure it’s on this mixtape, I can’t remember) was the Panamanian music she had requested. She looked confused and left the party soon after. I guess she just wanted to listen to El General.

The moral of the story: don’t ever bother the DJs with your annoying requests, especially if you can see that the DJs are carefully making their selection from a crate of dusty, old, vinyl records.