There was a cute thing in the paper the other day about the 'intelligence' of the iPod -- the way that, when it's set to shuffle, the randomization doesn't feel all that random, there seems to be weighting towards certain artists and away from others, and sometimes it comes up with really great segues or with random selections that appear to match your mood or songs you've already got in your head... those sorts of things, sensations which I'm sure are pretty familiar to most users. (Of Pod, not crystal meth.)
It was an interesting article and it reminded me that one of the things I thought I might use this blog for, before I set it up, was to commemorate those really neat iPod shuffle-play moments that occur every so often. Why such events should need commemorating, I've no idea, cripes, I'm a white single guy in his early-mid 30s, I have a job in the creative industries, I don't relate very well to other people, of course I'm going to write about my iPod as if it were my firstborn child. (Actually, don't get me started on anthroPodmorphism -- the week when my last iPod died, after I dropped it on its head outside Tesco on Bethnal Green Road and it took a few days of wheezing and feeble intermittent glowing to expire, was so unbelievably sad it made the hospital scene near the end of ET look like a YouTube video of a chimp drinking its own wee.)
Anyway so my journey to work this afternoon, from Stokey to the Oval, was wildly, gaily, transcendentally ameliorated by a superb random mix that my Pod indulgently dealt me, and which I record here so that, were you so moved, you could assemble this as a mix for yourself and recreate my journey. Your pleasure is guaranteed. How am I judging the brilliance of this mix? Why, it's the same criteria that I've always imposed on my own mixtapes for other people -- and let's be clear, this practice has been a central, almost devotional, part of my life for twenty years -- though of course way back then it really was a twin tape deck and a stopwatch. (Yes of course I pre-timed stuff. You get extra points for the tape run-out starting within five seconds of the last song on the side ending. And let me tell you, those extra points are better than love.) So the criteria are simple: each transition from one song to the next should feel satisfying and logical, no matter how big the jump in style -- & of course here too there are bonus marks, for consecutive songs being in the same key, say, or there being some instrumental motif or lyrical pattern that seems to get carried across; so there should be no ugly or clunky shifts, but every song should feel at least six degrees of separation from the track two or three before it.
This dude is a grandmaster of the art; but in his absence, here's today's masterclass from the mysteriously acute quasi-randomization algorithm (not to be confused, please, with tippergorithm) that constitutes The Unknowable Mind Of P*d:
Shizuo, 'Sexual High' (from Shizuo vs Shizor)
Television Personalities, 'Salvador Dali's Garden Party'
Christof Migone, 'Excavation 3' (from Hole in the Head)
Philip Glass, 'Are Years What? (for Marianne Moore)' (from North Star)
Girls Aloud, 'Love Machine'
Rothko, 'Bloodtied' (from A Continual Search for Origins)
The Jam, 'A Town Called Malice'
The Streets, 'Blinded By The Lights' (from A Grand Don't Come For Free)
Wagon Christ, 'Musical Box' (from Tally Ho!)
Tape-Beatles, 'Pens Pencils Stationery' (from Music With Sound)
Chuck Mangione, 'As Long As We're Together'
Lullatone, 'Wooden Toy Trumpet' (from the Staubgold compilation Childish Music)
The Real Tuesday Weld, 'Bathtime in Clerkenwell' (from I, Lucifer)
Skeleton Crew, 'Foot in Hole' (from The Country of Blinds)
At every stage a certified doozy! And just in case you're concluding that myBlud is so crammed with goodies that it couldn't fail to serve up such a tasty meal, let me get this straight. The return journey kicked off badly with a below-par Seventy Sevens song, veered bafflingly into (the excellent but, in the circumstances, jarring) Leon Rosselson, and then took me on -- to quote Wesley Willis -- a fear-throwing hellride that took in Sting, Cast, Madonna and an album track by Nizlopi (yes they made an album and no you don't urgently need to hear it), before culminating in possibly the most bizarre three-way segue of all time: from The Shins to Mark Stewart via -- who else? -- Dorothy Parker.
& if that makes you happy, kid...