I had such a blast making gifts this year, I'm going to do this every year! Unemployment has a way of juicing the creativity.
The gift I had most fun making is a modern take on the "mix tape." Who doesn't love mix tapes?!
I made these all the time. They are always a winning gift for countless reasons:
A) Sharing is good. Sharing music is better.
B) YOU create the 'album cover'.
C) Option to add personal notes, pics etc.
D) It's completely personalized.
E) You get a groovy new mix out of it!
and F) Mix tapes are cool.
Need: Music selection, ability to record music (doi), bits of scrap (ie. stickers, mag clippings, pics, fabric), scissors, some sort of adhesive, blank write-able discs...you get the picture.
Cost to me? About a buck.
Step 1: Play DJ
Ok, here's where the essence of what it is to master a mix tape is. The ultimate mix will be a blend of songs that you know the person likes; perhaps they mean something to the both of you? However, you want to introduce them to new music. This is key.
Are you of the itunes generation? This is comprable to exchanging music via 'mix tape'. DO NOT, I repeat, do NOT throw a mix together absentmindedly. It is not worth anyone's time nor ears.
Ok, so compile your list. I fancy itunes.
I recommend listening to your mix thoroughly before burning. Make sure the transitions are cool. Lead in and ending are apropos. You want this mix to be listened to!
Step 2: Cover Art, Baby
Be creative. That's all I gotta say. I wanted a piecemeal, urban sort of look. So I went with a stripclub article in the Seattle Times. I'm not sure why it drew me in, it just did.
OK. Cut to size. Don't forget the back of the CD cover (if you're using a cover; you can do sleeves too).
Step 3: Mixed Media
I cut a few layers of the paper and glued it together to thicken the 'cover'. Waited to dry and flatten, and then did a thin wash of light blue paint on the front.
Meanwhile, the disc is burning.
Step 4: Bits & Pieces
You can add anything to the album, so grab anything. I took a picture of this guy's shirt at a local bar the other night cause I thought it was cool. (Thanks, Joe!) Cropped the t-image I wanted to use.
And viola, radical image to paste on the cover.
Step 5: Song Scribbles
It's up to you if you want to include the song details. I am a fan. I like to know what I'm listening to!
I wrote the song list with artists with a regular ink pen.
This mix is for my bro, who is in his car a lot, so I had him cruising around in mind when I pulled the songs together.
The selection I hand-picked goes as follows:
Pacifics - Digable Planets
Rainfall - Nitin Sawnhey
Laughter - Josh Rouse
De Cara a la Pared - Lhasa de Sela
Be Thankful For What You Got - Massive Attack
Arrest Yourself - Hot Chip
Love Yourself - Blue Six
Honey (Only Child Dub) - Tosca vs. Only Child
Starlovers - Gus Gus
August Day Song - Bebel Gilberto
Sunny Road - Emiliana Torrini
Closing In - Imogen Heap
Serenade - Emiliana Torrini
Hoppipola - Sigur Ros
Step 6: Personalize, Personalize, Personalize
Ok, the disc is probably done. Listen to it to make sure the recording went smoothly.
Label the disc so your listener can easily identify his/her slammin' new mix. I like to use images, so I used an old sticker. No need to write anything on the disc.
I printed photos I took this past year to paste on the inside of the cover, and added a personal note.
Your personal touch is priceless.