Welcome to The Mix
by Ben | 11th February 2020
The first issue of The Mix arrives on mu:zines, and it's a big one!
It's been a while since I've worked on a new magazine publication for the site, and as always the case, there's a bit of a learning curve while figuring out how best to handle the content - every publication has it's own conventions - but it's the size that really makes it's presence felt - at nearly 200 pages it's about double the size of more conventional issue.
The Mix, for those who don't know, came about as Music Technology and Home & Studio Recording came to an end, and the magazines were effectively merged to form the new publication.
One thing made The Mix a bit different from other mags is the free cover CD that came with each issue. While other magazines had the odd flexidisc promo record, and the later era of Electronic Soundmaker came with a cassette tape featuring content in the mag (this was a little before my time so I never had any of these back in the day) - the ability to hear gear in action, and to listen to tracks from the artists interviewed, was really cool.
(This is no big deal these days of course - I regularly fire up Spotify to check out artists featured in these issues while proofing the articles - but back then, if they weren't on the radio, you'd have to fork out £15 for a CD in the hope you'd like their music, or just never hear anything about them at all.)
But even more so, this was the era of the sampler, the drum loop, and the personal computer becoming powerful enough to handle audio and (limited) video, and by now pretty much everyone had access to a sampler in one form or another, whether you had an S1000 in the rack, or were loading 8-bit samples into tracker software, or with your soundcard on your computer. Recycle was just appearing, so the ability to easily slice, dice and re-arrange loops had just become possible.
And so the free CD often came with samples, which were a nice way to get new content to play with - especially as commercial sample CD's were still quite expensive. I still have samples in my sample library from the early days of The Mix - I really liked a lot of Steve Levine's custom drum samples, I recall.
I didn't keep any of my old copies, or the CD's, and so The Mix was a bit low down the queue - we didn't (re-)collect any issues until quite recently - and there were hundreds of other issues to work on in the meantime.
When thinking about adding The Mix to mu:zines, I wasn't originally planning on handling the CD's at all - firstly, 84 CD's of around 400-600MB each meant putting these on a web host would be impractical and costly. Secondly, I was a little concerned over potential rights issues for some of the audio content, and didn't want to be a target for some record company trying to take the site down over an old mp3 file.
However, noticing that there were a few of the CD's uploaded to the Internet Archive for some time gave us a solution - we could archive the disks to the great library in the sky that is the Internet Archive, so the content would be available to readers, without us needing to host it ourselves. The IA hosts quite a lot of this type of material.
So we took a survey of what disks we had available to us (which means Mike went and rummaged through his collection) and he had around 50 or so disks. I put a call out to our Twitter community (if you're not following us on Twitter, please do, and say Hi!), and within a week or so we had completed the full collection of 84 disks, which have now all been imaged and uploaded to the Internet Archive - it's somewhere around 95GB of data in all!
While we wait for a proper Collection to made there (and we still have some artwork to come), you can access the disk collection from the following link:
• The Mix - CD Archive at the Internet Archive
Thank you to Chris Needham, James Perrett, Nathan Ramsden and Simon Dell for imaging, scanning and lending us the disks we were missing to complete this archive, and of course to Mike Gorman who imaged all his own disks and compiled and uploaded them to the Internet Archive.
As you'll see from The Mix issue #1, we are including links to the audio tracks via the audio player on the right hand side, and also on articles that are directly related to individual audio tracks, so you can easily hear the audio content in context, just like we've done for Electronic Soundmaker and other content.
A link to the full CD for that issue archived on the Internet Archive also appears there, if you wish to explore the other content. We've imaged all 84 discs in full, and there are PC and Mac ISOs of the data contents and other formats of the content. Use the "Show All" link to access the full file listing for each disk - the bin/cue files needed to recreate the multimode CD are available there.
• The Mix - Issue #1
• The Mix - Active Issues
• The Mix - All Published Issues
• The Mix - our CD Archive at the Internet Archive
The Mix is one of the few publications featured on mu:zines that were publishing through the late 90s, and so the content is a valuable addition to the archive.
Please note: Processing these issues is a pretty huge task, so you'll have to bear with me as I work on these, they will take a bit longer than usual to get through...
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