My first truly themed mix tape. Inspired by the songs on When We Are Inhuman, which dominates, as well as Nick Cave’s Murder Ballads, a mix of violent, desperate, or dangerous tracks.

Developed for a 60 minute cassette. Shipped with liner notes, below. Each side is bookended by short tracks from the Black Mesa soundtrack

Track Listing

  1. Side 1 (60 Minute Cassette)
    1. Joel Nielsen - Black Mesa - Black Mesa Theme
    2. Bruce Springsteen - Nebraska - Nebraska
    3. Bonnie “Prince Billy”, Bryce Dessner, and eight blackbird - When We Are Inhuman - Underneath the Floorboards
    4. Sufjan Stevens - Illinois - John Wayne Gacy, Jr.
    5. Bonnie “Prince Billy”, Bryce Dessner, and eight blackbird - When We Are Inhuman - Down in the Willow Garden
    6. Darren Korb - Transistor - Cut Apart
    7. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - No More Shall We Part - Fifteen Feet of Pure White Snow
    8. Keiichi Okabe - Nier: Gestalt - 最終兵器 (The Ultimate Weapon)
    9. Joel Nielsen - Black Mesa - Black Mesa Theme (mesa mix)
  2. Side 2 (60 Minute Cassette)
    1. Catch Your Breath (MD only, 15 seconds of silence)
    2. Joel Nielsen - Black Mesa - End Credits, Part 2
    3. Rob Dougan - Furious Angels - Left Me For Dead
    4. Darren Korb - Pyre - Mourning Song
    5. Bob Dylan - The Times They Are A-Changin’ - Ballad of Hollis Brown
    6. Dead Man’s Bones - Buried in Water
    7. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds feat. Kylie Minogue - Where the Wild Roses Grow
    8. Bonnie “Prince Billy”, Bryce Dessner, and eight blackbird - When We Are Inhuman - Banks of Red Roses
    9. Joel Nielsen - Black Mesa - Blast Pit 2



I put these notes into a word document and formatted it to fold neatly into a cassette case to go with the tape. The only printed copy of this is with the cassette sent to Alex.


This cassette is a collection of songs of menace, anger, betrayal, desperation, and loss. It was inspired by a new record I bought; a collaboration between Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Bryce Dessner from The National, and eighth blackbird, which is full of songs like this, and then expanded out into some of my other favorites. Each side of the tape is bookended by short atmospheric pieces from Joel Nielsen’s Black Mesa soundtrack.

We begin the cassette with a sad piano in the instrumental Black Mesa Theme. Side A then opens properly with Bruce Springsteen’s lonely Nebraska, about Charlie Starkweather, who, with his 14-year-old girlfriend Caril Ann Fugate, killed ten people in Nebraska and Wyoming in January 1959. From here we move into Bryce Dessner’s instrumental Underneath the Floorboards, itself inspired by Sufjan Stevens’ modern classic John Wayne Gacy, Jr., which follows. Down in the Willow Garden, a new arrangement of an old Appalachian murder ballad from the record that inspired this tape, is next. We take a brief instrumental break with Darren Korb’s Cut Apart from the Transistor soundtrack. This is followed by Nick Cave’s lost and angry Fifteen Feet of Pure White Snow. Last is 最終兵器 (The Ultimate Weapon) from the NieR: Gestalt soundtrack, a haunting song that follows you through an abandoned laboratory on your way to kill your friend Emil’s broken sister Halua. Side A closes out with a remix of the Black Mesa Theme.

Side B opens, ironically, with the Black Mesa End Credits, Part 2. Rob Dougan’s furious Left Me for Dead then starts us off for real. Darren Korb returns with Mourning Song, a short vocal harmony about a lost bride from the Pyre soundtrack. Bob Dylan follows with the spare, relentless Ballad of Hollis Brown, about a desperate starving South Dakota farmer, with his wife and five children (and seven shotgun shells). We move on to a children’s choir and Buried in Water from Ryan Gosling’s Dead Man’s Bones record. The main part of Side B closes with two songs about a man who murders his lover on a riverbank of roses. Is it the same man? The same woman? First is Nick Cave again, with Kylie Minogue on Where the Wild Roses Grow. Second, Bonnie “Prince” Billy returns with Banks of Red Roses, another new arrangement of an old folk tune. Side B ends with Blast Pit 2 from Black Mesa, closing the tape as it opened with a sad, slow piano.

Recommended pairing: Cheap Irish Whiskey