A Week With Mixmaster Shufflebutton

So my weeklong experiment with putting my entire music collection on nonstop shuffle has given me a few lasting lessons about the value of proper segues. BOB-FM ain’t got shit on the number of trainwrecks-per-hour I’m pushing.

I’m trying this as a way to load my Last.fm profile with a more general idea of what my music tastes actually are. My profile, as it stood before this week, reflected my tastes only since opening the account, which means the Top Artists list is heavily loaded with albums I’ve picked up in the past 4 months. There’s more to me than VNV Nation and Project Pitchfork, I swear! It just seems like I’m cheating the scrobbler since I’m feeding it a ton of stuff that’s not as relevant as it used to be, since I don’t really listen to much of it anymore. But I justify it because my collection is a reflection of myself through the past 20 years. Last.fm should be ecstatic that I’m trying to give them a better picture of my consumption; that’s me in rare form.

Here are some of the things I’ve learned:

  • I have 49 days, 22 hours, and 58 minutes of music; that’s 14689 tracks (not as much as some people, you braggarts). So there’s no way I’m playing random shuffle for a month and a half. Just no way without losing my damn mind.
  • Rhythmbox’s shuffle algorithm isn’t random enough. I’ve noticed it playing a few tracks from the same artist loosely clustered together. It appears the random selections are localized for a while before moving along.
  • I have a lot of stuff I’ve either never listened to or have spun only once or twice since acquiring. Like A-Set, Galloping Coroners, Pandit Pran Nath, Velocity Girl, and a bunch of tracks grabbed from a few of the streams I frequent. And I’ve completely forgotten I had a Luscious Jackson album, which I was into back in ’97. So, some of the stuff I get either doesn’t compete with other albums from an acquisition, or gets forgotten under the sands of time. It’s usually otherwise good stuff, but something else I pick up at that time is just a little better. Attention Deficit: as it is with pop radio, so it is with personal playlists.
  • I have an unholy amount of tracks that are longer than an sixty minutes. These are mostly DJ sets and mixes. Got some chillout mixes from Digitally-Imported, a few drum-and-bass mixes, and a tonne of DJ Testosterone electro mixes. But there are a few tracks that are one solid song; Goldie’s “Mother” and Brian Eno’s “Thursday Afternoon” push the hour mark. Possibly even the original “War of the Worlds” broadcast. So these are a joy when they pop up on the playlist since they transition within themselves for over an hour without jarring my sensibilities.
  • Speaking of segues: Under no circumstances should you follow Stabbing Westward with Genesis. You just don’t. And for the love of Satan, you never, ever come down from Slayer’s “Cast Down” with Sarah McLachlan’s cover of “Ol’ 55”. Both are great seperately, but put them together and be prepared to forfeit your soul.

Published by Shawn

He's just this guy, you know?