[mix tape] J.D. Amato Wakes Us Up!

October 1, 2009

1derful Seconds from J.D. Amato on Vimeo.

Filmmakers see the world differently than most.  It’s their gift.

Judging by his work, J.D. Amato‘s world is colorful and tightly edited.  It’s surreal and fanciful but based in reality.  (Note: Even the cover to his mix-tape is bright!)

Give him a small space, limited characters (see: his twitter feed and his film titles & descriptions, e.g., Age of Evil), or mere seconds (see: above), and he’s able to produce something creative.  Not too many other people can say the same thing, especially other barely 20-somethings.  Look out, World!  J.D. Amato is coming atcha, big time!

For his nonpretentious mix tape, he decided to take the limited direction we gave him – “uh, make a mix?” – and turn it into a wonderful project.


Because what J.D. provided can only be described as poetry, I’ll let the young artist speak for himself.  With his permission, I’ve included his original notes describing his work and his life.


J.D. Amato’s Random Alarm Clock MixTape

(Each song was randomly chosen every morning from the list of my most played songs according to my itunes and would automatically begin playing instead of an alarm clock. The first thing I would do when I became conscious while the song was playing was reach over to my desk and try to take a picture of myself.)

[* Editor's note: Not all songs were available on iTunes or Amazon.  If the songs were not available for download, I've indicated that in italicized brackets below.  If the missing songs were available on YouTube, I've included the links below.  Of course, these links will be subject to YouTube's terms and conditions.]

1. Tinted – TRS-80 [The New You]


A song fit for the king of computers. I completely forgot that I was doing this little experiment and thus was a little confused when music started playing in my dreams. Regardless, a once great Chicago band, now great L.A. band– TRS-80 is electronic music with character. I walk down the street listening to their tunes when I want to feel both important and obscure. Waking up to it this morning caused a conflict of emotions– do I go back to sleep or get up and walk down the street like a badass?

2. Shake It Off – Ninja High School [Young Adults Against Suicide]

[N/A for download.  YouTube video here.]


Waking up to this song was like waking up in a “morning routine montage” from a late nineties dramedy/action movie about hackers. If last night was rough, just shake it off. When you hear the keyboard clack, it’s time to hack. Hack ya later! Amazing song: easy way to wake in the morning. A definite picker-upper.

3. Chilly Down – David Bowie [Labyrinth Soundtrack]


One of the greatest scenes/songs from one of the greatest films of all time. A weird vibe to wake up to– but one that makes me want to be creative… and fast. This scene always seemed to contain underpinnings of sexuality… am I the only one who feels that way? I am eternally grateful to the gods of randomness that this song made an appearance on my mixtape.

4. What Do You Want From Me Now? – Red Doyle [How I Spent My Winter Vacation (With Joey Della Santina on Drums)]

[N/A for download.]


Red Doyle is one of the most insane human beings in the best way possible. Walking down the street with this guy is an adventure. That being said, his music reflects his relative insanity/genius. Though it was a lot to wake up to, I always imagine this song set to footage of a guy on the street being showered by his personal items as his insane (ex)girlfriend tosses them from his apartment—WHICH IS ON FIRE.

5. Decollage – Les Balayeurs Du Desert [Jules Verne Impact]

[N/A for download.  YouTube link available here.]


A song that makes me want to continue dreaming instead of waking up.

6. Hi Hi Hello – Kevin Bewersdorf [Slow Dudes]

[N/A for download.]


A song that can actually get you up in the morning without getting you pissed off. A truly creative and innovative musician who needs to be everybody’s alarm clock.

7. Can’t Stop – M83 [Before the Dawn Heals Us]


The lyrics beg you to get out of bed in the morning. One of my stipulations for my own death is that I die slowly, painfully, and saving peoples’ lives while the whole ordeal is being broadcast live on network television– if all goes to plan, this song will be playing in the background.

8. That’s Life – Nektar [Down To Earth]


An intergalactic circus. That’s what this album is about. An incredible song from one of the truly greatest albums of all time. A nostalgic way to wake up in the morning.

9. Gum Drops – Hot Sugar [Muscle Milk]

[N/A for download.]


A song so awesome I accidentally took my picture backwards. An awesomely odd way to start the morning– Hot Sugar fills its aisles with even more delicious samples than Costco.

10. We Close Our Eyes – Oingo Boingo [Boingo]


One of my favorite songs and an ironic one to wake up to. The first time I heard Oingo Boingo was on the Ghostbusters 2 soundtrack that I had on cassette. I played their song from that soundtrack hundreds of times and soon became addicted to their mystical message. This song reminds me of the winter– don’t know why. That’s a lie, it’s because when I was a kid I used to listen to this while I rode my bike through the snow to get to the comic book store across town.

11. Birdhouse in Your Soul – They Might Be Giants [Flood]


Another band I fell in love with as a twelve year old and a song that always puts me in a good mood– even early in the morning. Also, the first time I ever heard the phrase “bee in your bonnet”.

12. Big Sky – The Kinks [The Village Green Preservation Society]

[N/A for download.  YouTube video here.]


I’m so glad this came up on this playlist because this is truly one of my favorite songs of all time. The Kinks always bring it and Big Sky is a million life lessons packed into a single brilliant song. A pleasure to wake up to.

13. The Shooting Death of… – Take This Up in Fisticuffs [Summery Executions]

[N/A for download.]


You will be hearing more from this fine gentleman in the future, mark my words. I had a particularly late night working and was hoping for a more upbeat song to start off the day, but alas… you don’t always get what you want.

14. Robot Quest – Uncle Monsterface [This Is An Adventure]


The fact that Uncle Monsterface began my morning today probably means I will have an unforgettably bizarre day. This is one of the most eccentric, outlandish, and good spirited bands surfing their way around New York these days. Commonly pigeonholed as geek-rock, they tend to strike a sensibility in me that is far separate from anything I would describe as geekiness. Here’s how I’ll describe them: if you told my seven year old self that he needed to spend a million dollars on a party that lasted only five minutes– the resulting party would be an Uncle Monsterface song.

15. Sir Lancelot and the Black Knight – Rick Wakeman [The Myths and Legends of King Arthur And The Knights of the Round Table]


A bizarrely fitting way to end this alarm clock experiment. Rick Wakeman (along with most of my musical taste) was introduced to me by my father and serves as one of my hidden pleasures. If you listen to his rock operas (more like rock dramas) with other people, you can’t help but laughing… so listen to this greatness alone and allow yourself to be sucked up into the story. An epic way to start anything, especially a morning.

http://nonpretentious.com publishes mix tapes in its [mix tapes] column about three times per month. Our goal is to create a digital version of trading mixes, sharing music, etc. AND also publicize the work of “common people” (i.e. not superstar celebs but celebs nonetheless) who are doing cool things around the globe.

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