Saturday, July 24, 2010

For the Benefit of the Misguided People of Vermont

A blogger has certain responsibilities, among these being post titles that include sweeping generalizations and fixations on small irritations converted to posts. In that spirit, I herewith expand on my powerful, timely, and world-important rejoinder to the Vermont resident who wrote in to the New Yorker to complain about Pandora. (Apparently I want to be an insufferable fan-boy of Pandora for some reason.) 

It took me precisely five moves -- five mouse clicks, if you want to break it down that way -- to arrive at this point (pictured) in Pandora, where I am presented for the first time in my whole very important life with the music of new-to-me performer Balmorhea.

The Pandora interface adds the names of several other new-to-me artists that are, according to its algorithm, similar to Balmorhea: David Nevue, Dustin O'Halloran, Jon Brion, Eluvium, and Karen Marie Garrett.

How did I get here without the swaddling cuddles of a DJ based in New Jersey? Here's how:

I began with my existing Cat Power station. Cat Power begat a song by Sigur Ros.

I am slightly familiar with Sigur Ros, but only enough to call myself a potential fan of theirs -- I haven't formed an opinion either way. I added a Sigur Ros station.

Sigur Ros begat a song by Mogwai. I have heard of Mogwai, but I wouldn't say I am familiar with their work. Again, I have no basis for liking or disliking them. 

From Mogwai, just because the tool permits it and it sounds interesting, I added a station based on the song rather than the artist, and that gave me a station called "A Slow Dance Radio."

"A Slow Dance Radio" begat a song by Hammock. I have heard of hammocks, but not of the musical entity that calls itself by that name.

Hammock gave forth Balmorhea.

This entire sequence of events took less than five minutes. Because I was simply trying to use Pandora to branch into uncharted-by-me musical territory, I didn't pause to listen to the music for more than a few seconds along the way. Had I done so, even if I had registered some likes and dislikes along the way, it would not have changed the basic structure of the trajectory, namely from known to unknown.

It so happens I like what I hear from the Balmorhea station, which by now has taken me to a work by new-to-me artist Brian McBride. And just as I typed that, it gave forth a song by new-to-me artist El Ten Eleven.

So far, I have heard nothing I strongly dislike, and many things I tentatively like.

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