Making Your Own Compilation CD

High Fidelity triumphed the music geek’s obsession with list making, and what better way to celebrate one’s own musical list then a self-compiled compilation, in which YOU can decide what makes the final cut of an album.

This is why I’m against mp3 players and Ipod’s, not because of their tech-savvy approach to musical enjoyment, but because they take out the physical element of musical storage. It’s great to make a compilation and give it to someone as a gift, or to make it for yourself and come back to it years later treating it as its very own time capsule. Burning a compilation CD has an air of closure to it – its existence is eternal.

I often cringe at some of my earlier compilations. My Best Of Radiohead compilation of four years ago would be so different to today’s version. There’s no way I would include In Limbo off Kid A over the many better choices, and yet as a document of what Radiohead songs I used to like, that compilation is the truest encapsulation.

Everyone has their own rules of compilations, but here are mine:

1) Total running time must fall between 76 and 80 minutes. You have a full CD to play with, so use it.

2) Only one song per artist on any compilation barring “Best Of’s”. However, you could cheat by having a song by Lennon and The Beatles on there, as they would count as two separate entities.

3) Version of tracks must be stated unless songs are album versions. For example, if you have trimmed or edited the song, this must be stated, along with “Single Versions”, “Live Versions” or “Radio Edits”.

4) All songs must be sourced from original CDs, and not downloaded as compressed mp3s.

And that’s basically the only guidelines. I often like to make a compilation, or a sampler more precisely, of what CD’s I’m listening to at the moment, and I often give it stupid irrelevant titles and artwork for no reason other than I can. This month, I made the compilation below, and because I liked the picture of David Blaine decided I should name the mix after him.

Because I used this compilation to keep me sane on the train to work every morning, I mixed all the tracks smoothly into one another, just so I could fit more songs into the mix and also because it would eliminate silent gaps between songs. Some songs were trimmed for length, and were denoted with “(Raph Edit)”. For this mix in particular, I decided to start off with the heaviest, most rocking tracks and gradually end with the slowest, most stripped down affairs.

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