Late in 2022, I finally put my analog stereo equipment to proper use and gleefully joined the International Metal + Punk Tape Exchange. That’s what inspired these other mixtapes I’ve been posting — but this was the spark that ignited the fire. I jumped in for Round #19, and the theme for that month was “Life.”
So one day I’m driving around Zagreb, listening loudly to Porcupine Tree’s latest album. And this lyric slaps me in the face with its realness:
When we bite the dust
We will hide our cuts from the world
When you're in the dirt
You don't show your hurt to the world
For some reason my brain then remembered this poignant quote from Murakami:
“Death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it.”Haruki Murakami
Contemplate Death, Celebrate Life
That’s when I decided to incorporate death into the mix, and create a sort of journey. Side A is focused on contemplating death, and it starts in a pretty dark place. It doesn’t let up, either. It’s a heavy but cathartic emotional onslaught from Porcupine Tree, Cruel Hand, Cave In, Alice In Chains, and more, ending with the instrumental synthwave track “Obituary” by Carpenter Brut.
But Side B intentionally runs into the light, almost as if recovering from a near-death experience. It’s an uplifting blend of punk, rock, grunge, metal, and hardcore from Machine Head, Rancid, Sick Joy, NEMOPHILA, Turbowolf, No Motiv, and more. These are songs about celebrating life. About the moments that make us human. The small, but important things that make us smile and realize life is worth living.
And the sun will rise Dawn will break through blackest night Distant in its glow This shall pass be still and know ~"Be Still and Know" by Machine Head
Below you’ll find everything you need to enjoy my Life vs Death mixtape, regardless if you prefer analog or digital:
- For the purists: Complete 256k MP3 versions of Side A and Side B of the original cassette mixtape. These are lengthy ~45m audio files designed to be recorded onto each side of a 90-minute blank tape (or MiniDisc!). This version has special dialogue intros + outros from the The Crow, Fight Club, Jim Carrey, and Robert Downey Jr. It also has custom crossfading between songs for a continuous listening experience.
- Spotify playlists for Side A + Side B.
- Song.Link URLs for every track, for those who don’t use Spotify.
- High-res downloads of both album covers: one for “Life” and one for “Death.”
- A printable cassette J-card PDF file with both album art designs.
LIFE vs DEATH 🎵 Playlists On Spotify
If you want to dive right in, just press play on these Spotify playlists, but be warned you’ll only hear the full tracks if you have Spotify Premium and are logged in. Because these are meant to be enjoyed as classic analog mixtapes, I’ve separated the playlists into Side A and Side B.
IMPORTANT NOTE: “Silence at the Bottom of the Well” by Three Fish (a 90’s Pearl Jam side project) is, sadly, not available on Spotify, and is missing from several other traditional services, so it’s not included in the Spotify playlist below.
Direct Downloads: Side A + B + J-Card
Here’s everything you need (except for the blank tapes, printer, and audio gear) to reproduce my mixtape on your own cassette.
Song.Link URLs: Side A
For your convenience, these are links to stream or buy every track on a number of streaming platforms including Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer, Tidal, and Amazon.
- Porcupine Tree: Harridan
- Cruel Hand: Decompose
- Cave In: Blood Spiller
- October Drift: Webcam Funerals
- Alice in Chains: Dirt
- Against Me!: Pints of Guinness Make You Strong
- Three Fish: Silence at the Bottom of the Well
- The Pretty Reckless: Death by Rock and Roll
- Soundgarden: Birth Ritual
- Carpenter Brut: Obituary
Song.Link URLs: Side B
- Machine Head: Be Still and Know
- Comeback Kid: Wake The Dead
- New Junk City: High Contrast
- Rancid: Fall Back Down
- The Crew: One Voice
- Sick Joy: don’t feel like dying
- The Sewer Rats: Rejuvenate
- Turbowolf: Nine Lives
- NEMOPHILA: REVIVE
- Sixx:A.M.: Life is Beautiful
- Riverboat Gamblers: Don’t Bury Me, I’m Still Not Dead Yet
- No Motiv: Celebrate
- Close Your Eyes: Song for the Broken