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


Update, January, 2019: A third post-punk box set has now been published, ‘Post Punk 1980, an eight-mix digital box set, as well as a collection of women-lead post-punk ‘The Young Lady’s Post-Punk Handbook‘, a box set of contemporary post-punk, ‘Post-Punk: 2007-2017‘ and a long mix of proto-post-punk, ‘Post-Punk 1968-1977.

Update, September 2017: There is now a sequel (prequel?) to the ‘1981’ box set, ‘1979: Post-Punk,’ a seven-mix digital box set available for streaming or downloading.

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.  UPDATE: The second of these collections, for the ‘Sensory Replication Series,’ is now up here.  This series brings together post-punk, Krautrock, compositional music, musique concrete, electronic music, field recordings and more, layering tracks together to create an immersive experience.  I hope you’ll check it out!

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  |  Stream Musicophilia Mixes on Mixcloud  |  Join the Musicophiliacs Group on Facebook

56 thoughts on “[Post-Punk] – ‘1981’ Complete Collection including the ‘Briefcase’

  1. I hadn’t heard of your mixes before this, but rest assured that I love this and will be making many (digital) purchases. Thanks.

  2. This is the best music blog I’ve come across, as far as aligning with my tastes. Great stuff, man. Hat tip to Dangerous Minds for leading me here.

  3. AMAZING! Thank you… I will be back. Many Times. So happy to have found your blog.

  4. Give it another try–seem to point to the correct seperate files when I tried them just now. Thanks!

  5. I also, am very glad to have been steered in your direction by the ‘DM’ page on FB; I have known a few true audiophiles in my 34+ yrs. and am glad to have the blessing of finding a treasure trove new(-to-me) stuff I haven’t heard from the post-punk/new-wave/avant-garde realm of the 80’s plus alot I have, and also which in fact, tends to be my favorite genre of music after the obligatory classic rock of the 60’s & 70’s. I see that you also mentioned R&B and funk which in the 70’s through the 80’s really enjoyed a golden age of sorts, in my humble opinion. I would be happy to share with you some mixes I have come across throughout the years; especially concerning obscure R&B/dance music from the 80’s and Jamaican Dancehall of the 90’s. There are alot of true gems that need people like us to keep alive for the sake of posterity and to bring people that would otherwise not be exposed to these types of beats into the fold.

  6. It seems to work for me if you try it a couple times. But if it’s taken down there’s nothing I can do, sorry : \

  7. Thanks Adam! That’s what I love about music–“new” doesn’t mean much, but “new-to-me” means we mever stop being thrilled by good music, from when/where/who-ever. Please join the ‘Musicophiliacs’ group on facebook so you can share links to the mixes you’re talking about. And enjoy the new-to-you!

  8. Sorry my friend–compiled most of these over a dozen years ago, and while I d m a stickler about metadata now, as these went on an mp3-cd I guess I wasn’t back then. Nowadays at least there’s discogs, so you should be able to find further info on any track (including probably finsing some of them aren’t from ’81, these things were trickier to pin down back then). The main discs are sourced 99% from LPs/CDs I owned. As I recall, a good chunk, maybe a third of the ‘Briefcase’ was from stuff that was OOP that I couldn’t own at the time, sometimes the readon they weren’t included in the main mixes.

  9. Bloomin’ marvellous, a judicious mix from either side of the Pond and with lots of new-to-me stuff (sometimes names I knew, other times I’m left wondering “how have I not even come across the name before?”). And I’m only one disc in, this is going to be fun :)
    Funny no Pop Group, but then again, there is Phew. Good call!

  10. Jeremy, glad you’re digging it! Post-punk, like funk-related styles in the 70s, is just never ending and so much of it is really good, so the discoveries never end. No Pop Group because I thought they’d wound down by then–but I’m pretty sure Mark Stewart is represented in there somewhere. Enjoy!

  11. hehe, my mistake! You’re right, Pop Group were done by ’81 (and you have to say ’79 was their apex). Art Objects, on the other hand, were another Bristol band active in ’81, well worth a listen (they were the roots of the Blue Aeroplanes, more in that nascent indie vein… and as I say that I open up the Briefcase and see them there. Hat-tip!)

  12. Great googly-moogly this is incredible work! Lots of great stuff that is new to me but a special THANK YOU for a Trio track (“Danger Is”) that I didn’t even know existed. All the best and thanks again.


  13. You’re welcome! That whole Trio album is one of the hidden-in-plain-sight gems of ’81. ‘Da Da Da’ is something of a false face, and the one most people know. In fact, they were a remarkably muscular, spare, powerful group, one that fans of Wire or the Minutemen would really appreciate.

  14. Thank you so much for making the 1981 mixes available. I have been attempting to collate this from the play lists with little success for awhile now. I haven’t come across such generosity since Clinton Walker shared some obscurities with me.

  15. It’s my pleasure–hope you’ll find many new favorites in my mixes. Thanks for saying hello!

  16. Try again after a couple minutes–seems to still be up when I check it. Thanks!

  17. Thanks for this. I have long held 1981 as the greatest year in the history of music, and finding your mixes a number of years back just reinforced my belief.

    I had never heard the briefcase, obviously, so this is amazing to hear – and EXTRA 81? Sign me up! The hard work is all appreciated.

  18. Thank you, Scott! It’s been a continual pleasure over the years to “meet” people who found joy in the ‘1981’ mixes. I did put an unjustifiable amount of time and “work” into making them back in the day–but it’s all been repaid many times over knowing it helped connect people with music they love. Enjoy the ‘Briefcase’–it’s certainly more scattershot than the mixes proper, but there are a heck of a lot of gems in there.

  19. Thanks for all the hard work. It’s not all to my taste (“Computer Date” would have been my last choice for Suburban Lawns!) but it’s well curated and there’s a lot that’s new to me. Finally, the obligatory complaint of what’s missing: Fra Lippo Lippi. Cheers!

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  22. Hi, thanks for compiling these. I’ve been working on a similar idea but focussing only on UK bands from this period and concentrating on the lesser known ones. Check out my new website (it’s a bit rudimentary right now but I’ll work on it!) for download and stream links to my 1977 & 1981 mixes. I’m just uploading 3 mixes from 1980 before I begin to wade through all the material from 1978 & 1979. Wish me luck!


  23. Very cool, thanks–I’ll check it out! On my ‘1981’ box sounds like you’ll be right at home with the “Briefcase,” the unmixed section with tons of tracks. I tended to blend the well-known and the unknown on these post-punk box sets–but I can see the fun in sticking on the under-underground.

  24. Hi there…I’ve loved these mixes for a long time and realise I don’t have the complete Briefcase set…it appears the Briefcase is no longer available…is there a chance this might be made available again?

    Many thanks for your work here and on other sets…shear brilliance and a true labour of love.

  25. Hey Rob–I took the briefcase down when I finally shifted to the mixed-single-mp3 approach that I prefer (so it’s more of a podcast-like approach). But drop me a message at the Musicophilia twitter account (@musicophiliamix) and I’ll help you out. Thanks for listening!

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