Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Yesterday I posted my "musical eclecticism" score—87/100, I'll remind you all—but, if the truth be told, technologies of the last ten years have made it easier than ever before to have a vast collection of music, and to enjoy the accompanying eclectic taste. (A partial list, roughly in the order of my experience with them: CD burners, file-sharing networks, the iPod and other MP3 players, MP3 blogs, MySpace, the iTunes music store,

I do believe that the ability to randomly access a huge stockpile of cultural material, literally at the press of a button, has begun to yield a generation of listeners for whom strictly drawn genre lines hold no authority or appeal. Which maybe goes part of the way towards explaining the preponderance of unusual genre-crossing guest stars that have been cropping up in my listening this year.

A team-up like MIA and Timbaland (on "Come Around," from Kala) elicits a little bit of head-scratching, but they're basically operating at different points of a single genre continuum: it's exactly the same bit of insider patronage that inspired the Missy Elliot / Lady Sovereign pairup from last year. You need to make that genre continuum even broader to make sense of "Flashlight Fight," a Go! Team track featuring Chuck D (which functions downright beautifully and instantly reduces the distance between the two to nothing). But there's no genre large enough to legitimate the pedigree of "Poisenville Kids No Wins," which pairs apocalyptic Def Jux rapper/producer El-P and depressive indie-rocker Cat Power. But the muttishness of it works sublimely: although she's reduced to sample-status in the first half, she emerges as a Shirley-Bassey-level force around the piece's midpoint.

Listen: Poisenville Kids No Wins / Reprise [This Must Be Our Time] (edit)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

willfull obscurity

So I've been playing around with enough now that it's begun to serve up recommendations for me... But take a look at this list:

The near-total lack of signifying language here delights me, even as it reveals something about my lifelong pursuit of oddity.

It is also perhaps worth noting that I recently took something called the "Eclectic" quiz, which uses a script located here to take the top 20 artists in your profile, and then collect the top five "similar artists" of each of these 20. Combining any duplicates, the resulting number of unique artists is your quote-unquote "eclectic score." Since this post is obviously shaping up to be a brag, I don't hesitate to post my results here:


The script is kind enough to print out the full list of "similar artists" that pops up: the 87 related artists for my profile are:

!!!, Aaron Dilloway, Aen, Aki Tsuyuko, Animal Collective, Antony Milton, Avarus, Belle and Sebastian, Ben Reynolds, Birchville Cat Motel, Boards of Canada, Braspyreet, Broken Social Scene, Burning Star Core (2), Caribou, Cat Power (2), Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, DJ Danger Mouse, Daft Punk, DangerDoom, Dialing In, Diplo, Directing Hand, Double Leopards (2), Feist, Fonica, Four Tet, Fourcolor, Fursaxa, Go Home Productions, Hala Strana, Hot Chip, In The Country, Iron & Wine (2), Islaja, Joanna Newsom (2), Junior Boys, Keijo, LCD Soundsystem (2), Lady Sovereign, Lau Nau, Lenlow, M. Ward, M.I.A., M.I.A./Diplo, MF DOOM, Madlib, Manitoba, Massive Attack, MoHa!, Mouthus, Naph, Neutral Milk Hotel, Noah Opponent, Okkervil River, Paavoharju, Peter Wright, Phonophani, Pilchard, Quasimoto, Ratatat, Rilo Kiley, Röyksopp, SPUNK, Sack & Blumm, Sawako (2), Seht, Sogar, Spank Rock (2), Spoon, Sufjan Stevens (3), Svalastog, Taurpis Tula, Taylor Deupree, The Arcade Fire, The Dead C (2), The Decemberists (3), The Knife, The Rapture, The Shins, Thievery Corporation, Viktor Vaughn, Wolf Parade, Xiu Xiu, Zero 7, dj BC, of Montreal

Boldface means I never heard of them.