Sitting in various cardboard boxes in my basement are dozens of cassette tapes. These are mostly compilations of pop music that either myself or my friend Geoff put together during the second and third decades of our lives.
Almost all of these are made from singles and LPs. Technologies that seem stunningly antiquated by today's digital standards, but which were perfectly adequate at the time. To be sure, many of the recordings are marred by pops and scratches, but you tuned those out. The visceral power of the music remained.
Unlike today, when you can rip a CD in minutes, I used to record those tapes in real time, listening the record at the same time. Somehow, looking back on it, that seems like a better way to get to know the music. Instead of working at the computer's speed, you were compelled to go with the natural flow of music. To be sure, sometimes I wished I could do it faster, but overall it was more fun in those slow old days.
Sadly, I don't currently have a single functioning cassette player in the house so I can't listen to all those tapes. I think I might find some of those old compilations very enjoyable again. Long lost, but still memorable is a very old tape I put together in my teens of a blend of Who, John Mayall, Velvet Underground, Doors, David Bowie and other 60s/early 70s rock artists. I played it a lot at the time – it meant a great deal. Music has an ability to crystallize certain memories and specific times and places perhaps more than any other art form. It continues to do so.