WBEZ | Elephant mixtapes http://www.wbez.org/tags/elephant-mixtapes Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Mystery mixtapes spark city-wide treasure hunt http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-02/mystery-mixtapes-spark-city-wide-treasure-hunt-105533 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/mixtapes.jpg" title="The return of the mixtape. (the OCMD)" /></p><p>As a child of the &#39;90s and teen of the &#39;00s, I missed the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_X" target="_blank">Gen X cutoff</a> for romantic mixtapes. By the time I got to highschool, my classmates were making emo-heavy mixed CDs (think Bright Eyes and the Postal Service) to profess their undying love for each other. I remember being a tortured 13-year-old in 2002 and playing Damien Rice&#39;s <em>O</em> on a loop, back in the days of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPod_classic#First_generation" target="_blank">iPod classics</a> that have now become obsolete.</p><p>However, most music purists&nbsp;regard mixtapes as the <a href="http://www.kempa.com/articles/tape/" target="_blank">one true art form</a>: an expression of self through the careful order and selection of tracks. Anybody can make a playlist on iTunes or Spotify by clicking and dragging songs into place, but the act of compiling a mixtape is much more involved, personal and intimate. To quote Nick Hornby&#39;s <em>High Fidelity</em>:</p><blockquote><p><em>&quot;</em>Making a tape is like writing a letter &mdash; there&#39;s a lot of erasing and rethinking and starting again. A good compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do.&quot;</p></blockquote><p>The <a href="http://elephantmixtapes.com" target="_blank">Elephant Mixtapes</a> project is not only a celebration of the mixtape as an artistic statement, but a call to share that spirit with others as well. The founder of the movement, who wishes to remain anonymous, makes 10 copies of a mixtape each month and hides them in various locations throughout Chicago.</p><p>If you discover one of the tapes, you can either leave it for someone else to find or choose to complete the following steps:&nbsp;look up the contact info inside the tape&#39;s artwork, take a picture of the tape with a description of where you found it and write a little note about what the music means to you.&nbsp;Then you have a few more choices: hide it again for someone else to find, make a copy for yourself or pass it along to a friend.&nbsp;<a href="" target=""><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2011_02_ChicagoMixtape.jpg" style="float: right; " title="Local music junkies can also get their fix through Casey Meehan's Chicago Mixtape project, which gives participants weekly MP3s from up-and-coming Chicago bands. (The Chicagoist/chicagomixtape.com)" /></a></p><p>Remember those <a href="http://www.ehow.com/how_4516416_plan-scavenger-hunt-birthday-party.html" target="_blank">scavenger hunt birthday parties</a> that used to be so much fun when you were a kid? The Elephant Mixtapes project is a grownup version of that, with the added bonus of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pay_it_forward" target="_blank">paying it forward</a> through music. The movement has already picked up steam with articles in the <a href="http://chicagoist.com/2013/02/08/elephant_mixtapes_hides_musical_tre.php" target="_blank">Chicagoist</a> and <a href="http://gapersblock.com/merge/archives/2013/02/08/go-elephant-hunting/" target="_blank">Gaper&#39;s Block</a>, but so far, nobody has been lucky enough to find where these mysterious tapes are hidden.</p><p>Eager to start sleuthing? Check the founder&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="http://elephantmixtapes.com" target="_blank">website</a>&nbsp;for updates and clues on the tapes&#39; whereabouts, as well as general information about how to share the project with your community and keep spreading the word.</p><p>I don&#39;t own a casette player, and I don&#39;t know many people who do.&nbsp;Yet most of the twenty-somethings in my social circle (myself included) own turntables that we found in vintage shops and multiple stacks of vinyl collected from our parents&#39; basements. So why not resurrect the mixtape as the new novelty trend?&nbsp;Several local record stories (<a href="http://www.reckless.com" target="_blank">Reckless</a>, <a href="http://sakistore.net" target="_blank">Saki</a>, <a href="https://shop.permanentrecordschicago.com/index.php?search=FEATUREDITEMS" target="_blank">Permanent Records</a>, etc.) also sell an eclectic mix of audio casettes, and Amazon has a wealth of old-school&nbsp;cassette players in stock.</p><p>You can also sign up for the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagomixtape.com" target="_blank">Chicago Mixtape</a>&nbsp;mailing list to learn more about our city&#39;s vibrant local music scene, or go all <a href="http://www.perksmixtape.com" target="_blank"><em>Perks of Being a Wallflower</em></a> on your crush and make them a mixtape of your own. Your thoughtful gesture may not have the same charming effect as <a href="http://hollywoodcrush.mtv.com/2012/09/19/the-perks-of-being-a-wallflower-mixtape/" target="_blank">the kid from <em>Clash of the Titans</em></a> had on Emma Watson, but at least you&#39;ll be spreading the love.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Follow Leah on <a href="http://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter</a> or add her on <a href="http://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>.</em></p></p> Sat, 16 Feb 2013 08:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-02/mystery-mixtapes-spark-city-wide-treasure-hunt-105533