What, these days, is a mixtape? It’s definitely not quite the original meaning, ‘a compilation of songs in a specific order recorded to cassette tape’—which Foals Tapes reminds us from the start, with found audio of a newsreader telling us that cassette tape is being removed from an official dictionary.
Literally, then, these days a mixtape is just a compilation of songs in a specific order via whatever medium some boffin dreams up next week. But there is an ur-mixtape in our collective consciousness that will forever look like a retro iPhone case (or ‘tape’ as they were once called) – a romanticised idea of a lovingly crafted, meaningful set of songs aimed right at the heart of someone we care for. In their way, this is Foals – or, specifically, Edwin Congreave – doing just that, JUST FOR YOU, because he cares so.
This is the third instalment of !K7’s ‘Tapes’ series, mixes curated by artists; I’ve not caught the previous two, but if they’re half as good as this… well, blimey. One hesitates in calling music ‘a journey’ for fear of coming off a bit, y’know; but a mix of such exceptional breadth across genres and decades, and one mixed so cohesively, earns the label odyssey.
Faithful to the two sided tape concept, the first ‘side’ is one of songs, the second a bit more of a rave-up. There’s a few nice mixes of old faves (Talabot vocal refix of Teengirl, anyone?) and equally some storming tracks that may well be new to you: a Carl Craig remix of Kilode by old afro-beat drummer Tony Allen hasn’t been off my stereo/Youtube-history-list since I first heard it.
Ok, sure; you’re overwhelmed with mixtapes these days. They’re coming out of your eyes. Too often, though, they lack what was initially so significant to the idea of the mixtape – that ‘specific order’ that meant something. Foals Tapes has that feeling, Congreave cramming in all five members’ diverse taste to offer a part of themselves to us. Like when your lover gave you your first mixtape, it’s great to feel like someone cares.
-Michael C Lewin
Taken from Notion Magazine Issue 58