The seemingly non-random preferences of my iPod

I’ve talked about this before, but it keeps happening and I need to remind myself that nothing nefarious is going on.

For the fourth time since I started the tunequest, I’ve had to question the randomness of my ipod. first, there’s cex’s being ridden and being ridden instrumentals, which were played pretty much back to back. Then there was Danny Elfman’s Batman scores. more recently, the device decided to play nothing but drum-n-bass for a while, despite that particular genre’s relative scarcity in my library.

Today however, no sooner had Nirvana’s unplugged session finished than i was presented with Pearl Jam’s performance of the same.

To be fair, I have to remind myself that these sort of coincidences are completely natural. Indeed, four instances within the 135 days of the project thus far is nothing to get choked up about. Still I always raise an eyebrow when I notice a new pattern. In today’s case, maybe the iPod just wanted to further perpetuate the music-media-manufactured feud between Cobain and Vedder.

But believe me, I’m not complaining. Both performances are mind blowing. Come As You Are sounds phenomenal on Nirvana’s unplugged record and Pearl Jam’s unplugged rendition of Porch is the best one in existence.

April 10 – 91 songs played. 5 removed.

what a day! 91 songs played and 5+ hours of listening. that’s what i need to be doing everyday. it’s not likely to happen, but it is something to strive for.

also, it seems that this tunequest page has managed to obtain a google pagerank of 4 in just over a month. from what i understand, that’s pretty good, so huzzah for tunequest!

  • bjork [selmasongs]
  • blind melon [blind melon]
  • massive attack [blue lines]
  • danny elfman [batman returns]
  • matmos [a chance to cut is a chance to cure]
  • franz waxman [bride of frankenstein]
  • danny elfman [batman]
  • savath + savalas [apropa’t]

i’ve mentioned before about the randomness of the ipod and, despite allegations that the device isn’t very random in the first place, one shouldn’t read too much into supposed patterns of play.

nevertheless, it is disconcerting that my ipod chose to play not only danny elfman’s batman and batman returns, but a performance of the adam west batman theme by the royal scottish national orchestra. the ipod even tried to play batman again after i was forced to stop and restart at one point. it’s all randomly possible, i know, but is still wiggy. not that it matters, elfman’s batmans are classics and his theme is, of course, instantly recognizable. recommended all around. •

speaking of scores, i had pegged bride of frankenstein as one destined for my dust bin. after a careful listen though, i must say that i am fascinated by it. it was composed in 1935 and sounds much more like an orchestral suite or ballet than a film score. it turned out to be quite the highlight of the day. •

also some good trip hop by the likes of massive attack and some excellent spanish-influenced melodic downtempo by savath + savalas (aka prefuse 73 amongst other things). •

and a final note about blind melon, a group whose music it seems i should have outgrown by now. i’ve had the album for 13 years now, and it is inseparably linked to and trapped in time with the alternative explosion of the early 1990s. sometimes i think it’s time has just come and gone, but fads aside, it features song really decent songwriting with catchy hooks and impressive guitar noodling. blind melon’s debut is more mellow, groovy and musically complex than many of its contemporaries. though i feel like i should let it go, but just can’t seem to make myself do it. •

bossa nova, batman and elbow

65 looks like an impressive number, but today it’s not. whereas the 66 songs from yesterday represent just over 5 hours of music, today’s 65 only amount to 3.5 hours. this is partially because the severed dreams soundtrack is only 33 minutes for its 22 songs, while mahler’s 6th from yesterday clocks in near 90 minutes but counts as only 4 songs. in any event, i did hear some worthwhile music.

  • fantastic plastic machine [beautiful]
  • elbow [alseep in the back]
  • elliot goldenthal [batman forever]
  • christopher franke [babylon 5: severed dreams]
  • ultralounge bossa novaville

Ah, the bossa nova…. it, and to a lesser extent samba, are among my favorite forms of music, so it’s surprising that i don’t have more of it in my collection. nevertheless, it should be no surprise that i’m highly enthralled by bossa novaville, no.14 in the ultralounge series. nineteen super-smooth and relaxing tracks that can’t help but take the edge off whatever’s on your mind.

of course, this is ultralounge we’re talking about, a product of capitol records. it’s designed, packaged and presented to appeal to boomers and retro-culture hipsters alike without being in the slightest way offensive. despite the marketing schtick, the music is quite effective and at the very least, acts as a launching pad for further explorations into the various genres it resurrects. les baxter alone almost justifies the series’ existence.

also in today’s roundup: a somewhat disappointing score for batman forever. beyond treatments and re-workings of danny elfman’s batman theme, nothing here really jumped out at me. about half the tracks got the boot.

and a quick note about elbow: the group is from the UK (manchester, specifically) and i’ve heard them referred to as equal parts radiohead and coldplay. which is sort of true, if radiohead wrote more ballad-type songs and didn’t enjoy rocking out as hard, you might get the mellow stylings of elbow. i guess that’s where the coldplay reference comes from, but elbow is not nearly as insufferable.