Tab Tries: Mixtape Society

Mixtape Soc will save you from cultural poverty, writes RUTH MARINER

80's Alphabet Brahms classical music mix mixtape Music playlist Poverty pub retro ruth mariner Sex shit music society tapes tuesday VK

Mixtape Soc. It sounds like Mr C’s failed attempt to get the youth a bit more enthused about Big Soc. A volunteer initiative perhaps, set up post-riot in the void left by a burned down Footlocker or JD Sports.

But are our grand surroundings just making up for something that’s actually lacking? It may not look like it, but in Cambridge, we live in poverty.

The solution to all our musical problems?

Of course not actual poverty like real people experience, but, where music is concerned, poverty since we lack a thriving cultural platform where we can listen to, dance to, exchange and talk about our musical interests. There is a great classical scene here; a fantastic choral tradition; but where pop music is concerned the hegemony of chart cheese, cheesy chips, and VK culture is undeniable.

This is why we should all thank mixtape trailblazer Sunny Sangha for stepping in and saving the day, setting up the society with the explicit caption ‘Fuck cheese, listen to GOLD’. The society has now been thriving for over one and a half years, meeting each Tuesday at a different pub about town. The only ‘rule’ is to bring a mixtape with a track list.

The custom is to grab a drink and informally talk everyone through the music on your tape. It was an eclectic aesthetic. Scattered over the table was a mixtape of gospel songs, a tape which included a song for every year of its creator’s life for his 21st birthday, a few collections of acoustic classics and some 80’s synth-pop faves.

Not knowing quite what to bring, I shoved on Brahms’s 4th, Felix Kubin, Diamanda Galas and Oumou Sangare. I was quite aware that it was a tape a lot of people could hate, but that wasn’t really the intention. I’m not one of those people who gets off on liking something until someone else has heard of it, but I do generally hate indie music.


Ruth puts her music where her mouth is

Classical is great, and trash is great, but for me that middle ground has the appeal of venturing out on a grey day, maybe eating some Ryvita on a subway train before meeting a long-term boyfriend for some unadventurous sex. Blah.

Anyway, this week I wanted something that might turn this around for me. I picked from the pile “Kate’s Alphabet Mixtape”, which very neatly ran me through Atomic Rooster, Ben Jansch, Caribou, Django Django, Eliot Smith…

What is the result? Well, I’m not completely converted but I do have at least five new songs for my itunes repertoire, so well done Kate. I really liked Joanna Newsom’s Soft as Chalk, which surprised me because my narrow-minded brain had previously branded her as a twat who pretends her stuff means too much stuff.

So, if you want to expand your tastes and meet open minded people, check into the Facebook and meet Mixtape Soc this Tues, where they’ll be at the anchor with a pint and a playlist.