Cool! An Archive of DJ Mixtapes from the 80s and 90s

A recent excavation of my basement uncovered a trove of ancient mixtapes, compilations I made up for my car (gawd, I can’t even remember how many cars ago had a cassette player). They need a little TLC before they can be played again–no doubt they’re quite dried out–but I’d love to see what they contain.

I think there are several unmarked tapes that feature Chris Shepherd spinning live-to-air on CFNY sometime in the late 80s/early 90s. Those were some great sets.

This brings me to a Boing Boing article recommended by Peter which reports on the SF Disco Preservation Society, a group that’s digitizing as many DJ mixtapes from the 80s and 90s as they can.

The art of the club mix — equal parts curation, imagination, and rhythmic skill — is something that’s evolved over the decades in different ways in different cities, with DJs finding influences both locally and internationally. But before the explosion of file-sharing in the early 2000s and the widespread accessibility of digitized music a few years later, DJ sets were things you only ever experienced live in the nightclubs themselves, unless your friend was a DJ and copied a cassette for you — or unless that DJ was famous enough to have a record label and a few CDs.

Read on and listen to some samples.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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