Mixtape WarsMusic

Mixtape Wars

Think of this as a sort of “desert island mix”—except that the island you are stranded on is planet Earth, floating all alone in space. If Armageddon comes and everyone splits except you, what tunes will you seek to keep you company? That’s the question posed to Mazarine Records founders Clay Jordan (pacificUV) and Kai Riedl (Electrophoria, ex-Macha), with Riedl offering additional philosophical insight as a former religion instructor at UGA. Considering the supposed Mayan predictions for December, this may soon be a very real quandary for some unfortunate (fortunate?) soul. And as the folks on television’s new series “Doomsday Preppers” will tell ya, it’s never too early to start making your apocalypse mix. Here are some recommended tunes to throw in the bunker with your canned food and batteries.

Clay Jordan’s Mixtape

“Unloveable” by The Smiths

Why Clay Jordan picked this track: Smiths fans like to believe Morrissey is singing to them and them alone. Being the only living one left on Earth, I would know for certainty not only that Morrissey is singing just to me, but that I am indeed unlovable as there is not another soul alive.

Kai Riedl’s reaction: With everyone gone, I would abandon old national holidays and make up new ones, such as the “Day of the Unloveables,” with Morrissey flags waving. I would also vow that if I were ever to see another human being again, the first words out of my mouth would be lyrics from this song: “If I seem a little strange, that’s because I am.”

“Raw Power” by The Stooges

CJ: Like in the opening scenes from 28 Days Later, I often fantasize what it would be like to walk around a large city that is completely deserted. I would like to listen to this song while ransacking an abandoned Walmart and then burn it to the ground.

KR: I think working out and rocking out to this song—say doing push-ups, with nobody else on the planet—would be a transcendent experience. Iggy, that last album you did kinda sucked, but the image of you looking lean and mean would inspire me to keep fit long after the rest of mankind is gone!

“Collapsing at Your Doorstep” by Air France

CJ: In 12 Monkeys, director Terry Gilliam imagines a nuclear war-ravaged Philadelphia in which tigers roam freely. If this were the case, I would domesticate a tiger and ride it around the city while listening to this magical number by Air France.

KR: This song makes me want to create a signature t-shirt for my solo stay that would simply say “Life Is a One-Person Rave.”

“Young Folks” by Peter Bjorn and John

CJ: Waking up each morning in complete isolation, I need a sunny, upbeat ditty to keep my spirits up. I would listen to this while jogging through the empty landscape.

KR: I imagine, with nothing but time, I would wire together the most enormous speakers on the planet, and have the whistling line in this song blasting out into space. I love the image of Earth spiraling through space with that line as its soundtrack.

“Tommib” by Square Pusher

CJ: At night before going to bed, I would gaze out over the uninhabited landscape to this wistful instrumental track which is melancholy yet hopeful.

KR: Being that you’re the only one around, eventually animals wouldn’t be afraid of you, which would be so fabulous. With this song as a soundtrack, I would ride large deer down abandoned city streets, while birds, resting on my shoulders, whistled the theme from Peter Bjorn and John’s “Young Folks.”

“Fake Empire” by The National

CJ: In a forsaken future America, I would listen to this anti-imperialistic critique of American hegemony and imagine how we could improve upon the model if we were to rebuild: no cars, no suburbs, free health care, texting and smart phone use only on Sundays…

KR: It’s hard to imagine the majority of things seeming more fake than they already do.

“Omgyjya Switch 7” by Aphex Twin

CJ: Being completely alone, I am going to get bored. To placate this isolation, I would break into a pharmacy, indulge in some choice goods, and converse with some imaginary friends which this psychedelic jam would aid me in dreaming up.

KR: This song would be a fantastic accompaniment to a post-civilization graffiti spree. Imagine tagging large pink hearts on an abandoned Pentagon, or letting loose on Washington’s architectural sacred cows!

“Knives Out” by Radiohead

CJ: Much of Radiohead’s output since the millennium suggests a dystopian future. I would listen to “Knives Out” while foraging for food, and pray I don’t have to resort to eating a mouse like the narrator in this song.

KR: Nobody is ever coming back, ever, and every time my delusional mind imagined people were coming back to Earth, I would put this song on as a stark reminder that I’m alone from here on out. I would also remember what Sartre said: “God is absence. God is the solitude of man.”

“We Are the Pigs” by Suede

CJ: Another song with apocalyptic overtones. I love the line “Let the nuclear wind blow away my sins, and I will stay at home in my house.” KR: Anytime I can anthemically sing lyrics such as “We are the pigs, we are the swine,“ with nobody around, great. When I can do it while freeing a bunch of farm animals, even better!

Kai Riedl’s Mixtape

“Accidentals” by Broadcast

KR: Ahhh, the magically ephemeral quality everything in the world has is now magnified by all the stilled cityscapes. Here, among pillowy organs, Trish Keenan’s voice (R.I.P., Trish!) softly reminds us what we already knew, and what we find oddly comforting: the fact there is no guarantee…  of anything.

CJ: Dreamy tune that, when played together with the right prescription, might make me indifferent to whether I am the last person on Earth.

“In a Landscape” (1948) by John Cage

KR: With nothing but time you can finally come to grips with the simultaneous perfection and imperfection of everything that was, when the planet had people. And now with everyone gone, you become addicted to the vast spaciousness of everything. Take your clothes off!

CJ: Even listening to this with the Earth fully inhabited I get a bit anxious, but this is a suicide recipe for me alone on an abandoned Earth.

“Stevie Smith” by Vic Chesnutt

KR: With nobody around, one would think a heightened sense of loneliness sets in, but you quickly realize it’s identical to the pang of loneliness that struck when millions were here on Earth. Here, Vic and crew do a musical rendition of Stevie Smith’s poem “Not Waving but Drowning,” and I know this one can stand repeated listens, because when Vic died I listened to this song about 130 times!

CJ: Lovely, enigmatic tune infused with a beautiful melancholy as are many of Chesnutt’s tunes.

“Deeper Into Movies” by Yo La Tengo

KR: I imagine looking out over a nighttime ocean from a desolate beach, playing a fucking rocking air guitar to this song while singing these timeless lyrics to the stars as loud as possible, while wearing a Speedo. Normally this scene would put people off, but NOBODY IS HERE!

CJ: Chaotic, fuzzy tune. I could picture making friends with Zombies while listening to this. Perhaps we could start a co-op garden together?

“Oh Superman” by Laurie Anderson

KR: Inevitably, you cut your damn foot, and you stumble into an abandoned hospital in an attempt to stitch yourself up. The surrounding medical robotics and equipment are oddly comforting, and you find yourself having in-depth conversations with inanimate objects.

CJ: What a creepy, beautiful tune. Great use of vocoder. Might creep me out too much to listen to on an isolated Earth, though.

“Stories of the Street” by Leonard Cohen

KR: You realize all the things you took for granted, even the myriad tensions with your fellow man. Somehow, you miss the drama. Robert Frost’s famous quote echoes in your head: “I had a lovers quarrel with the world.”

CJ: Lovely song from a classic Cohen album. Vaguely apocalyptic lyrics: “I know you’ve heard it’s over now, and war must surely come.”

“Time After Time” by R.E.M.

KR: After everyone is gone, every single moment in memory is a precious gem, especially moments with dear friends. A desolate Earth paired with an overactive memory highlights what the early Hindus said about the deceased, and how one would feel about past friends—that they are “not here, not gone.”

CJ: Perfect song in which to peruse old photo albums and think of deceased loved ones.

“Sangkala” by Degung Music of West Java

KR: Now, with all other humans out of the picture, the interlocking and cyclic course of everything can finally emerge, and this song sublimely captures that realization. Your inner-hippie begins to blossom. CJ: On a solitary Earth, I no longer fear paisley or tie-dye!

“Calming Passengers” by Macha

KR: This is a song I wrote with Suny Lyons years ago, and I always pictured it as a soundtrack to a desolate Earth, or airplane in turbulence 50 years from now (I know that’s random). If you turn it up loud enough, it may obliterate any lingering sense of self, something that is now laughably useless. (Notice the Laurie Anderson vocal reference from “Oh Superman.”)

CJ: Aural mediation.

“Tirol Concerto Movement II” (Philip Glass) by Dennis Russell Davies

KR: With absolutely nobody around, the temptation just to walk into the ocean will surely set in every now and then. This song gives you that sensation without having to do it, so you can carry on as the only human circling the sun!

CJ: Perfect music to dream to. If I do grow tired of my isolated existence, I might actually walk into the ocean while listening to this song. Not a bad way to go…