Two Sides, Two Tapes is the theory
of mixtape structuralism
that posits a mix tape
to be more successful when each side is distinct in form and feel.
There are two primary places to listen to a mixtape— the home and the car. In home tape player
s, especially cheap boom box
es, the cassette
must be flipped manually, providing a break in the music. In car players, or home stereos with auto reverse
, the break is noticable, but not as important. But with that break comes the opportunity to start anew, similar to the feeling of flipping an album over, a moment of interactivity, of kinetic communion, of general assent to continue with the mix. You're asking permission at the end of a side.
Thus, with every mixtape, there is the decision whether or not to maintain the side a
mood on side b
What does this mean if you choose the Two Sides, Two Tapes theory? Well, first off, you have to start over. The second side should have some connection to the first side, so as to reward the continued listening. Otherwise, your tape will be one that is played and rewound, which over time damages the tape. It is your mix's life at stake
This is why most adept mixtaper
s end their first side with a slow fade out
: so that they may begin side two with a growing fade in
One easy way to adhere to the Two Sides, Two Tapes doctrine is to have different genre
s of music on each side. This is especially effective to show someone a path into new music
or genres. For example, a tape with Miles Davis
, John Coltrane
and Wayne Shorter
comprising one side can be artfully wedded with a side of Fela Kuti
, Konono No. 1
and the Anti-Balas Orchestra
on the other. The African- inflected jazz
of the a-side
will relate well with the Afrobeat
of the b-side
, while remaining discrete compositions.
Other easy Two Sides, Two Tapes mixes are to separate things based on geography (Athens, Ga.
musicians on one side, Austin, Tx.
musicians on the other), language (Serge Gainsbourg
on one side, English
on the other), or subject (winter songs on one side, summer on the other).