August 25, 2017 by Darren Clarke
Yes, summer does end. And so does the Summer Cassette series.
The good news is it ends with that rarest of all things- The 120 minute cassette. The problem with the 120 minute cassette was that it never lasted long before the tape stretched or snapped or got munched by the cassette player. No such problems here though, just an extra 30 minutes of the beautiful, the melancholy, the joyful, the bittersweet.
This final Summer Cassette is an attempt to capture what moves me in that brilliantly end of summer kind of way. It’s similar to what has made me want to share music with other people since I was a kid. The desire to take music that impacts me in a small way, in a big way, music that makes me sad, that makes me happy, that makes me curious, to take it and weave a wide assortment of feelings and sounds together so the final result is for a moment smooth, for another rocky, it is suddenly soaring, it is suddenly sparse, quiet, floating.
An individual trip, an individual escape, to profound bits of inner and outer space. This is me saying, “Man you gotta’ here this!”
I give you these cassettes because I like you, I do, but in truth I mostly made them for me. 80% of what is here was new to me this summer. This was as much about exploration as contemplation. This was about revelation as much as demonstration.
But yeah, the summer is just about over.
Soon Brock Students will swarm the Niagara Regions supermarkets emptying them of Kraft Dinner and Ketchup. The honey bees will end the year dizzy and aggressive buzzing around plastic beer cups and the open condiments at downtown hot dog stands. The Grape and Wine Festival parade will unfold in chilled sunlight and thousands of young people will discover what we all discover sooner or later (but probably sooner) that too much wine has ugly consequences. Soon summer skies will end with Labour Day weekend blue and purple bruised skies and full cities of clouds migrating to some massive, unknown, part of the universe.
Still, there’s music.
This last cassette is the Summer mix most weighted with nostalgia. Supertramp, Eagles, Pink Floyd, swooned around the garages and back yards of many a late August night when I was growing up and in a fascinating contradiction they manage to not just define that time but also that which is timeless- change.
And there’s more- The Ventures, “Theme from a Summer Place,” captures a million forgotten moments of my youth- The joy of walking to the corner store with a quarter in my pocket, opening a little box of raisins, the smell of the empty box afterwards, standing shirtless in the rain with my eyes closed … Courtney Barnett has made repeated appearances in this Summer Cassette series and that’s just because she appeals to my Pavement soul, it’s kind of like Australia took it upon itself to create an artist that appealed to the smack dab middle of me… Sly and the Family Stone bring you joy, bring you a cup that runneth over, they bring you some get up and dance.
To me though the cassette is most aptly defined by my friend Del Stephen and his delicate piano and synth meanderings. Stephen gives you some space where you can appreciate the passage of time, where you can consider your mortality as less a limitation and more as emancipation. Love while you last. Love while it lasts.
To end things Brian Eno wordlessly takes us into the great unknown on, “The Big Ship.”