Thurston Moore on mix tapes and mp3s

Dan Hill alerted me to this wonderful, but teasingly brief piece wherein Thurston Moore (need I really mention Sonic Youth?) waxes lyrical about mix tapes and their progeny:

I also needed to hear these records in a more time-fluid way, and it hit me that I could make a mix tape of all the best songs. So I made what I thought was the most killer hardcore tape ever. I wrote H on one side, and C on the other. That night, after my love Kim had fallen asleep, I put the tape in our stereo cassette player, dragged one of the little speakers over to the bed, and listened to it at ultralow thrash volume. I was in a state of humming bliss. This music had every cell and fiber in my body on heavy sizzle mode. It was sweet.

It’s beautiful because it’s true [and it’s why I loved High Fidelity both as a book and a film.] Thurston expands on the notion of mix tapes as emotional vehicles and presents some home truths for the music industry:

Once again, we’re being told that home taping (in the form of ripping and burning) is killing music. But it’s not: It simply exists as a nod to the true love and ego involved in sharing music with friends and lovers. Trying to control music sharing – by shutting down P2P sites or MP3 blogs or BitTorrent or whatever other technology comes along – is like trying to control an affair of the heart. Nothing will stop it.

And Thurston puts his money where his mouth is. His personal page on the Sonic Youth site contains a whole host of free mp3s, all of which are protest songs, from the likes of the Beatie Boys, Cat Power, Jim O’Rourke and Sonic Youth themselves. The accompanying instructions read:

use ‘em for yourself. give ‘em to friends. just don’t sell ‘em.

Now then, where’s that CD of Dirty? I feel a Sonics-inspired compilation coming on….