[Post-Punk] – ‘1981’ Complete Collection including the ‘Briefcase’

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1981‘ was the undertaking that started ‘Musicophilia,’ in that it’s what pushed me from making tossed-off mixes that I’d share with a few friends, to obsessively culled, carefully sequenced, highly themed collections that I managed to share with people all over the world.  It began as a 10-disc, 9-mix physical box set that I shipped to whoever wanted it (for the cost of shipping), put together and refined from 2004-2005 as a way of exploring a several-years-gestating obsession with post punk, which, it seemed to me, had reached its maximum depth, breadth and fecundity in the eponymous year.  The goal was to share the infection of the obsession, and hopefully to get lots of people to buy lots of music and thus support the responsible artists and labels.  Several hundred physical copies went out before I exhausted my youthful energy, and in the process I got to enjoy “meeting” (digitally, for the most part) many people, including a good number of the artists represented on the box set, and folks I’ve stayed in touch with to this day.  I think the box did its part, as many testimonies of lessened bank accounts but increased musical enjoyment convinced me.

In 2008, I started ‘Musicophilia’ largely as a means to share the ‘1981‘ mixes even more broadly; and it quickly kindled equally intense exploration and mix-making for the many other strands of music I love most, culled as laboriously as ever, if never again as singularly (over)ambitiously.  While my mid-20s, Portland-fueled underemployment came to an end and for several years of graduate school the blog went into mothballs, in recent years Musicophilia has settled into a steady pace of a couple mixes, give or take, each year.  If I may say so, I think some of them are the best I’ve ever done, even if listenership can never again match the heady days of Google Reader and a mix every couple weeks.

All that said, I recently realized a couple things about the mixes that started it all.  One: a couple of them have been unavailable for some time.  Two: I never shared the other major component of the box besides the nine carefully thematic mixes: the massive spill-over mp3-CD of the ‘Briefcase’ disc.  The main nine mixes totaled some 231 tracks, at 12 hours of music.  The ‘Briefcase’ added another 251 tracks and 13 hours.  Some of it is the stuff of the post-punk sphere that didn’t thrill me as much–power pop, neo-psychedelia, and proto-indie stuff–that nevertheless had its role to play and is plenty fun.  But a great share of it is just as good as the main discs, that just didn’t fit into the mixes for one reason or another.  It fleshes out the story substantially, and it’s worth sharing.  And just for fun, I gathered together another 41 tracks that were never in the original set, mostly things I found over the last dozen years or so, a lot of which probably would’ve made the mixes if I’d known about it back in 2004.  And I’m making it all downloadable more easily–two links, found below the “read more” link.

A full tracklist here would be just about impossible.   We’re talking some 450+ artists, 523 tracks, and around 28 hours of music. The tracklists for the main mixes are still up at their old posts.  Suffice to say, if you have any interest in post-punk, new wave, punk, art-rock, or the sounds that formed them or have mutated from them: this collection is worth your time, and I can almost guarantee that you’ll find at least a few new favorites.  The Complete Collections I’m sharing here–one file for the main mixes, another for the ‘Briefcase’–will most likely be up for a limited time, so download while you can, and feel free to pass this blog post along to others you think would appreciate it.  I ask just one thing: if you discover music you like and don’t already own, please buy the music so that “old” music like this continues to be put back in print.  If you’re an old ‘1981’ listener, or a new one, drop a comment if you’d like and let me and others know your favorites–or let me know things I’ve missed, so I can include them in the ultra-deluxe version in 2024.

Over the coming months, I hope to continue with new mixes.  I’ve recently started revisiting the 80s after spending most of my attention on the vastness of the 70s for the better part of the last dozen years.  I think I’ll be returning to ’81 soon–but this time, to explore what ‘1981’ didn’t really explore, especially in the realms of funk, dance, r&b, early hip-hop and pop.  However, I also plan to make available collections of commonly-themed mixes I’ve produced over the years into post-facto “box sets,” where the threads and stories can start to add up to more than the scope of individual mixes.

So here you can download the Complete Collection of ‘1981’.  Enjoy!

Download the Nine Main Mixes

Download the ‘Briefcase’ and newly added Bonus Tracks

Subscribe to Musicophilia

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