Great Mixtapes: Select – Red Tape

Following yesterday’s delightful free mixtape, I was reminded of one of my all-time favourite compilations. Red Tape came free with issue 4 of Select Magazine, in October 1990 (I was turning 14). It had a fairly major impact in forming my music tastes at the time.

I’m going to embed all of the tracks (where available) because it’s definitely worth hearing in its entirety, and I’ve put links to anything I’ve covered elsewhere. It covers a wide range of music so there should be something here for everyone.

Cocteau Twins – Pitch The Baby

Liz Fraser was the singing voice of the Elves in Lord of the Rings – her voice belongs firmly in the ethereal realm. It sounds much tamer these days, having been imitated so many times, but this really did sound like nothing on earth at the time.

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Pale Saints – Insubstantial

The title is self-descriptive: there really isn’t anything to this song. It’s just one of a multitude of inoffensive but forgettable songs of its ilk. Standard guitar-indie fare.

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The Pixies – Allison

This packs a lot into its one-minute-18-second running time. The surf-rock stuff from 00:38 really makes the song.

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(His Name Is Alive – Some And I not available)

Eh, it was crap anyway.

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Lush – De Luxe

“The hours I spent trying to dye my hair like Miki’s – but I never had the (bleach) bottle to go that bright. It wouldn’t have suited me anyway.” [more]

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Ultra Vivid Scene – Special One

“It’s a deceptively simple hook and melody that’s just exquisitely crafted and has stayed with me for fully 20 years. It’s sweet in the way the Carpenters were sweet and breezy the way the Mamas and Papas were breezy. Delicious and light, not saccharine.” [more]

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Dead Can Dance – Song of the Sybil

According to user comments on Youtube, this is sung in the Catalan language, which was suppressed by Spain’s dictator Franco. Since his death in 1975, it has undergone a resurgence. The music dates back to the 15th century.

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Crime & The City Solution – The Last Dictator I

I had always assumed that the title was acknowledging himself as the “last dictator”, but apparently the “I” denotes that it’s “part one”. I considered this one of the weaker tracks on the tape.

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Renegade Soundwave – Murder Music

“…When being on Mute was as much a guarantee of excellence as being on Creation or 4AD. Renegade Soundwave were the other band – the one that wasn’t Nitzer Ebb – though Doug McCarthy’s lot still garner a glimmer of recognition, while RSW are long forgotten.” [more]

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Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Foi Na Cruz

This was probably the first Nick Cave song I heard, and I was not impressed. I can’t imagine anyone hearing this and thinking, “Wow, so this is one of the most revered songwriters of our time and I understand why.” Luckily it wasn’t too long before I heard his other, better songs.

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Depeche Mode – Clean

One of my favourite songs from Violator, the insistent bassline reminds me of Pink Floyd’s One Of These Days. The punchy percussion and crisp, clear vocals really have an impact. A thoroughly great song.

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Fortran 5 – Midnight Trip

Someone’s ripped this from the cassette, hence the hiss! I remember thinking it was rather dull at the time, but I like it more this time around. This very of-its-time electro reminds me of 808 State.

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