Tapes for the taking

All mixed up
By MEGAN V. BELL  |  July 16, 2008


Want to make your own compilation of overlooked ’60s female soul singers? Go for it. Cornered the market on fresh dance-till-you-sweat summer jams? Then it’s your duty to get more booties in Boston shaking. Have you always dreamed about making your own concept album about cats, but your cats won’t let you out of the house long enough to spend time in a recording studio? Well . . . there might be other issues to tackle there, but now’s your chance to share your musical vision.

On the heels of Field Trip, his no-charge wandering-minstrel summer series of impromptu acoustic shows (see “Walk ’n’ Roll,” Arts, June 27), Gabe Birnbaum (a/k/a Boy Without God) is trying to reach even more people through a citywide mix-tape/CD exchange project.

The scheme is simple and fundamentally free. Between now and the end of July, Birnbaum will collect as many mix tapes as people will send him, and will then distribute them at likely locations throughout Boston with signs saying “Take Me.” Very Alice in Wonderland.

The project is open to everyone, and the more styles of music incorporated the merrier. All Birnbaum asks is that anyone who contributes a CD or tape puts some work into it, the way they would for a friend — a track list, a little artwork on the front, something to make it look appealing and intriguing.

The point of the effort is community. “A lot of people I know have been moving away from Boston. They find it a bit cold,” says Birnbaum, echoing a common lament of post-collegiate hangers-on in this city.

In September, Birnbaum, 22, will take a year abroad from Boston College to explore Denmark, where he hopes to set up a Boston-Copenhagen Phase Two of his project. Beginning August 1, Bostonians will be invited to submit mixes for a wider trade, with the idea of establishing transatlantic pen-pal links with the Danish curiosity seekers who collect them on the other end.

Tapes and CDs for Phase One can be submitted to the Boston Phoenix, c/o Megan Bell, 126 Brookline Avenue, Boston, or you can contact Gabe Birnbaum directly for more information at boywithoutgod@gmail.com.

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