Hovering over the stereo, record, play and pause buttons engaged, waiting to unleash the spinning of the tape deck the second that favorite new song starts on the radio. Notepad open to the right as the order of the latest mixtape is charted out, this one guaranteed to prove those tastemaker skills to its unexpecting recipient. Contemplative, hip, fun-loving, sensitive…all these personality traits in need of expression come across in the perfectly executed mixtape. This is more than a playlist, more than any internet radio algorithm, this is creativity and ingenuity, personality and culture.
Anyone growing up in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s more than likely has some experience with dubbing mixtapes. Nowadays, modern technology takes the once painstaking project of lining up tracks and samples just right and turns it into nothing more complicated than a click and drag, enabling aspiring producers and professionals alike to take something we all know and recycle it into a new piece of art.
Rewind. Rootfire founder Seth Herman and LA-based producer Alific have been making mixtapes for years now. A friendship formed via a Rootfire giveaway with the stipulation of making some collaborative art. This was the early days of Rootfire, when the mailing list was in the double digits rather than over ten thousand like it is today. The giveaway was for an Akai APC40, a controller for Ableton that allows for mixing, beat matching, and sample cueing all at the slide of a fader or push of a button.
Fast-forward. This bond has resulted in an endless depth of music sharing and consequently a series of Rootfire Mixtapes, the most recent of which The Sun Shines Even In Winter is available for your listening pleasure today.
“It’s gotten to a point where people listen to these Rootfire Mixtapes to get good music from it. And this new one we’re putting out, everyone I’ve let listen to it, they love it so much and they love the actual songs on it and get in to those bands. We’ve really branched out as we’ve grown more and more and more with each mixtape we’ve put out, with ideas and transitions and music in general.” – Alific
Play. And this is the truth of the situation: The Sun Shines Even In Winter displays a degree of artistry and craftsmanship that places it on a level above mixtapes past. The transitions are incredibly tasteful, the flow is effortless from start to finish, and the selection is fresh. This mix has serious vibe. More so than a combination of great songs, The Sun Shines Even In Winter is a singular piece of auditory art. It takes a look at the face of the introspective darkness we call winter and offers a blanket of warmth to the listener. Downtempo, layered, and full of intertwined melodies and rhythm, this latest Rootfire Mixtape is a journey in need of taking.
Pause. Take a look to the top and you’ll notice that this article is Part 1. Keep an eye out for Part 2 next week. We have a special project to share inspired by the spirit of mixtaping – an experiment in the medium of podcasting born out of a most entertaining phone chat between Seth, Alific and myself. Stay tuned!