Friday, September 29, 2006

ShuffleLog 29-Sept-06: We Have A Repeat, I Repeat, We Have A Repeat!

Time to start checking the schedule for trains to AC.

Not one, not two, but three repeats today.

ShuffleLog 29-Sept-06
  • Bloc Party, "Helicopter" - Silent Alarm
  • Foo Fighters, "In Your Honor" - In Your Honor (Disk 1)
  • Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, "Heavy Metal" - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
  • AIR, "Venus" - Talkie Walkie
  • The Beastie Boys, "Song For The Man" - The Sounds of Science (Disk 1)
  • Crazy Town vs. Steve Miller, "Tipsy Butterfly" - SixxMixx
  • The Streets, "Who Dares Wins" - Original Pirate Material
  • Subtonal, "Shibuya", 24:7 (Disk 2)
Geez, where to start?
  1. Jen and I went to see Clap Your Hands Say Yeah at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park last night. The last song they played? "Heavy Metal". Which first showed up in this pathetic little project a week ago.
  2. There's only been one other AIR song to grace our ShuffleLog presence. You guessed it: "Venus". That's lightning striking twice.
  3. Nothing terribly noteworthy about "Shibuya", either musically, philosophically or ShuffleLogically. But the trifecta of repeats occurs three months from the last day that I spent in California before moving to New York.
Yeah, I got nothin'.

Remember, a song has a .161% chance of even being played. What are the odds that it is repeated? What are the odds that 3 out of 8 songs in a single day are repeats? There have been 84 songs played since I started this whole mess. 84 out of 622, 13.5% of all songs. So far, we've had 4 repeats and a single album hogging 11% of all ShuffleLog tracks (Fader Nation Vol. 1).

Dammit, why did I skip Calculus in high school?

ShuffleLog 28-Sept-06: Prepare For The ShuffleLog

Check your tickets, race fans. We've experienced two out of three mixes of The Lovemakers "Prepare For The Fight" on ShuffleLog.

Technically, that doesn't count as a repeat. But it certainly is a wonder.

ShuffleLog 28-Sept-06
  • The Lovemakers, "Prepare For The Fight (Dummies Club Mix Edit)" - Times of Romance
  • The Beastie Boys, "Beastie Boys" - The Sounds of Science (Disk 1)
  • Bent, "An Ordinary Day" - 24:7 (Disk 2)
  • Tenacious D, "Exposivo" - Tenacious D
  • Gabriel & Dresden, "Dub Horizon" - Bloom (Disk 1)
  • Oakland Faders, "Track 08" - Fader Nation Vol. 1
  • The Streets, "Empty Cans" - A Grand Don't Come For Free
Like friends who don't seem to get the hint when I yawn, turn off the TV, and start brushing my teeth, the Oakland Faders just keep getting another beer from the fridge. Yeah, there are 40 tracks on Fader Nation Vol. 1 (6%), but they now comprise 12% of ShuffleLog tracks. They're running away with it, making even Perfecto Chills Vol. 3 look downright inconspicuous (9%).

Nice to see Gabriel & Dresden finally make an appearance with a track that used to get serious air time. Back when I owned a car.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

ShuffleLog 27-Sept-06: Howdy, Y'all!

A Special Edition ShuffleLog! Greetings from -- wait for it -- Amarillo, TX.

[cue sound of whatever sound a tumbleweed makes]

I opted not to Shuffle Songs for the flights to Dallas and Amarillo, and not for any scientific clean-room reasons (it's longer than my typical commute, will poison the sample, blah blah blah). Mostly because a) I was a little bored with Shuffle Songs, b) it can be a little distracting while reading, and unlike the business traveler cliche, I love using air travel to catch up on reading, not work, and c) I wanted to get familiar with Massive Attack's 100th Window before I see them in two weeks.

However, after eating a 16oz. bone-in ribeye at a surprisingly good BL Bistro in Amarillo the night we arrived, I decided that a run was in order. The hotel's "fitness center" (read: Nautilus machine and 3 treadmills) was being "remodeled" (read: repainted), so I resorted to braving the streets of Amarillo at 7:30 in the morning.

A 35 minute run was a decent approximation of my typical commute time as well, affording this Junior Einstein Chemistry Set experiment a notion of continuity.

ShuffleLog 27-Sept-06
  • Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, "Blue Turning Grey" - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
  • Starkid, "Crayons" - GU024: Reykjavik
  • Massive Attack, "Safe From Harm (Perfecto Mix)" - Perfecto Chills Vol. 3 (Disk 1)
  • Freek & Mac Zimms, "Submission" - GU003: Prague
  • Oakland Faders, "Track 15" - Fader Nation Vol. 1
  • Oakland Faders, "Track 03" - Fader Nation Vol. 1
  • Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, "Promise" - Howl
  • The Bravery, "Rites of Spring" - The Bravery
  • Oakland Faders, "Track 19" - Fader Nation Vol.
Whoa. Is my iPod trying to keep me comfortable and safe in the wilds of Amarillo? Geez, yet another CYHSY song? Predictably accompanied by GU:024 and Perfecto Chills? And the most significant show of force from the Oakland Faders? On my run, I was actually exasperated by this. This, my only solace in the middle of friggin' Amarillo, Texas! Only The Bravery stands out, if nothing more than its first entree into the ShuffleLog.

More analysis and compilation to come, if nothing more than to soothe my soul. We never did get to the Cadillac Ranch.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

ShuffleLog 25-Sept-06: We Have A Winner!

It took 8 ShuffleLogs and 60 tracks, but we finally have it: the $150 Exacta, the $500 scratcher, the double-down on 11.

We have our first repeat. I bet it was the spreadsheet.

Drumroll, please...

ShuffleLog 25-Sept-06
  • Bloc Party, "Banquet" - Silent Alarm
  • Bradley, "Rush (Echo's Wave Dub)" - Tranceport 3
  • Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, "Devil's Waitin'" - Howl
  • Eighty Mile Beach, "There Are No Right Angles Found In Nature" (Thievery Corporation Mix) - Perfecto Chills Vol. 3 (Disk 2)
  • The Streets, "What Is He Thinking" - A Grand Don't Come For Free
  • Oakland Faders, "Track 23" - Fader Nation Vol. 1
  • Danny Howells, "You Can't Go Home Again" - 24:7 (Disk 1)
  • Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, "Howl" - Howl
Yawn. Damn, why couldn't it have been a Beastie Boys track? But still, getting a repeat outta Perfecto Chills, is almost anti-climactic, given its dominance of the ShuffleLog charts of late.

60 tracks. If Sean ever reads this, he'll have to help me determine the odds of a repeat. I mean, yeah, out of 622 tracks (I added Massive Attack's 100th Window over the weekend, all of 9 tracks, since I've got tickets to a Roseland Ballroom show in October), the odds are still .161% of any track coming up.

More analysis after the break. And by break, I mean a business trip to -- get this -- Amarillo, TX. Can't wait for the ShuffleLog for that trip.

Monday, September 25, 2006

ShuffleLog 22-Sept-06: Dorkier Than D&D

Yep, it finally happened. Either out of boredom, laziness, or latent deep-seated geekiness, I dumped all of this in a spreadsheet. This allows me to:
  1. Be efficient, easily capturing each ShuffleLog, rather than scribbling it on a Post-It note every day. And it's easier to look for trends when it's all in one damned place.
  2. Be lazy, since repeat artists, tracks or albums can autofill via Excel magic.
  3. Be the geek that I can be, including lame-ass pie charts on the distribution of tracks, album, or artist instances.
That, and the miracle of cut-and-paste:

ShuffleLog 22-Sept-06
  • Mara, "Coming Down" - GU021: Moscow
  • Oakland Faders, "Track 26 " - Fader Nation Vol. 1
  • Ladytron, "Beauty*2" - Perfecto Chills Vol. 3 (Disk 1)
  • Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, "Heavy Metal " - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
  • Nouvelle Vague, "Love Will Tear Us Apart" - Perfecto Chills Vol. 3 (Disk 2)
  • She Wants Revenge, "Red Flags and Long Nights" - She Wants Revenge
  • Way Out West, "Everyday" - Don't Look Now (Disk 1)
  • Tenacious D "Wonderboy" - Tenacious D
  • Way Out West, "Absinthe Dreams" - Don't Look Now (Disk 1)
That, and the miracle of my stupidity. Since I sorted the tracks, I blew it and screwed up the natural order in which they were originally played. OK, I can thankfully reconstruct the natural order of most of the past ShuffleLogs by virtue of this damn blog and it's previous postings. Good thing I'm a quick learner. But this one is reconstructed from memory.

And what does the power of Excel tell us now that we've been at this for over a week? That, among 52 tracks played through Friday, 22-Sept-06, there's very little that's random about Shuffle Songs:

Album Counts Through 22-Sept-06

Perfecto Chills Vol. 3 5
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah 4
Don't Look Now 4
Fader Nation Vol. 1 4
Tenacious D 4
24:7 (Disk 2) 2
Funeral 2
GU024: Reykjavik 2
Mezzanine 2
She Wants Revenge 2
Times of Romance 2
To The 5 Boroughs 2
17 others 1

Even though I was an English major, and was told there would be no math on this blog, even I can see that Perfecto Chills is getting disproportionate airplay. Sure, it's a 2-disk set, with 11 tracks per disk. But that's still only 3.6% of all tracks on my iPod right now (remember, it's 613 total). Yet Perfecto Chills represents almost 10% of all ShuffleLog tracks played since 14-Sept-06. Even more disturbing is Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, which has 12 tracks or 2% of all tracks on the iPod, yet represents 8% of ShuffleLog tracks.

Yeah, this difference seems like mice nuts, but it may belie something nefarious. I've only ever listened to CYHSY all the way through once, so it's not like the iPod's got huge play counts on it. I haven't rated any tracks on the record, and I only added it to my iPod within the last 2 months. Where's any SixxMixx track, which I played like mad over the past year? Bloc Party?

Never underestimate the power of my dorkiness to quantify this notion. Yes, Virginia, there might be a there there.

Friday, September 22, 2006

ShuffleLog 21-Sept-06: Like Life, Today's ShuffleLog Ends with "Friendship"

Miraculous return of Tenacious D, suspicious return of CYHSY. The seeming ubiquity of Perfecto Chills and the Oakland Faders.

Now do you see what I mean when you see the remarkable lack of variety, even among 613 songs?

ShuffleLog 21-Sept-06
  • Oakland Faders, "Track 25" - Fader Nation Vol. 1 (It's actually pretty annoying listening to sub-1:00 tracks from DJ mixes like this. The transitions are more jarring than the stop at Houston St.)
  • Gorillaz, "White Light" - Demon Days
  • Stereolab, "...Sudden Stars..." - Margerine Eclipse
  • The Arcade Fire, "In the Backseat" - Funeral
  • Eighty Mile Beach, "There Are No Right Angles Found In Nature" (Thievery Corporation Mix), Perfecto Chills Vol. 3
  • Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, "Let the Good Goddess Rust Away" - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
  • Tenacious D, "Friendship" - Tenacious D
Any programmatic notion of preference -- Top 25 Most Played, user ratings -- clearly don't have much of a bearing here. Haven't heard a single Bloc Party song yet, and I was abusing that record for a while. First entry from the Gorillaz, another record I played a lot in recent past.

But still, we're racking up hit counts on Tenacious D., Perfecto Presents, and the Oakland Faders.

To the spreadsheet! (please, kill me for that)

ShuffleLog: Now with 100% More

Like most marketing claims, this one's a bit specious. The truth be told, since I mostly commute in the evenings with Jen, I don't listen to music on the way home. Even though Jen's got a staunch refusal to talk on the subway.

But she had a work thing Wednesday evening, and I had to go home solo. The upshot is that there was more music. The downside being that I blew it, and didn't record the ShuffleLog after hockey, losing it yesterday morning.

But I do know this: there were two Clap Your Hands Say Yeah songs, one Beastie Boys song from To The 5 Boroughs, and "Pulse of Life" from Way Out West's Don't Look Now.

That's three in a row for The Beastie Boys...

After a week or so, I'm definitely going to chart and publish a Top 10, and drop some science on it with some real analysis. Because if every song's got a 1 in 613 chance of getting played (0.16%), then the first repeat is gonna be like hitting the lottery. Yeah, the cheap-ass $500 prize on a scratcher, but still, how many times have you hit that?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

ShuffleLog 20-Sept-06: It's Two-fer...Wednesday...

Had to finish yesterday's ShuffleLog this morning, since I left the damn list of tracks on my desk and couldn't remember them at home last night. So there you have it.

After all of that grousing about The Lovemakers and The Beastie Boys yesterday?

ShuffleLog 20-Sept-06
  • The Beastie Boys, "Pass The Mic" - The Sounds of Science (Disk 1)
  • The Lovemakers, "Prepare For The Fight" - Prepare For The Fight - Single
  • Foo Fighters, "There Goes My Hero" - The Colour and the Shape
  • The Postal Service, "Natural Anthem" - Give Up
  • Massive Attack, "Black Milk" - Mezzanine
  • She Wants Revenge, "Monologue" - She Wants Revenge
Spoooooooky. Top 10 Beasties song in my book, and the track by The Lovemakers that got airplay on Live 105 in San Francisco, which in turn, led me to see them live 3 times in 6 months. Yes, Lisa Light went to Stanfurd, but she was a friggin' marine biologist, so we forgive her.

And it looks like someone knows that I bought tickets to see Massive Attack yesterday. Oh, Hell, who am I kidding?

ShuffleLog 19-Sept-06: Mid-Day Blockbuster

I had some high hopes for today's ShuffleLog. First, because I was heading to work around the terribly stress-free noontime commute hour (had a furniture delivery this morning, not a hangover). Second, well Hell, just look at the start of this thing...

ShuffleLog 19-Sept-06
  • Duran Duran, "The Reflex" - Seven and the Ragged Tiger (warning: their web site sucks)
  • Massive Attack, "Inertia Creeps" - Mezzanine (warning: their web site is almost unnavigable)
  • Oakland Faders, "Track 10" - Fader Nation Vol. 1 (Track 10 features a howling LL Cool J sample from "Mama Said Knock You Out")
  • Rakim, "Strong Island" - The Master
Strong start, to say the least. And then, when two of my favorite artists come up -- The Lovemakers and The Beastie Boys -- it all goes to Hell...
  • The Lovemakers, "We Should Be Taking Our Clothes Off" - Times of Romance
  • The Beastie Boys, "We Got The" - To The 5 Boroughs
  • Flipsyde, "Someday" - Single
Quite possibly two of the worst songs on their respective albums from The Lovemakers and The Beastie Boys. And that Flipside song, while a respectable effort outta Oakland, was a little disappointing after the confounding lyrics of "We Got The". Considering how much I dig -- and listen to -- those two artists, I'm surprised nothing more significant came up ("Root Down"? "Shake That Ass"? Hello?)

Of Note: Not a single electronic track, just when I declared that GU024 was going to make an appearance each and every day. No repeats or back-to-backs either.

The moral of this story? It's so much nicer to show up to work at 12:30pm (if you have to show up at all).

Monday, September 18, 2006

ShuffleLog 18-Sept-06: 3rd Time's a Charm

What better way to start off the week than with...

ShuffleLog 18-Sept-06
Yes, I'm the only straight guy who admits to liking the Pet Shop Boys.
  • Grayarea, "Yewminyst" - Global Underground 024: Reykjavik
  • Gnarls Barkley, "The Boogiemonster" - St. Elsewhere
  • Way Out West, "Fear" - Don't Look Now (Disk 1)
Short one this morning, since 1) I caught an express train and a connecting 1 train immediately, making the commute blissfully short, and 2) two of the tracks -- "Yewminyst" and "Fear" are longer electronica tracks of 8:41 and 7:37, respectively. That alone consumes over half of my commute.

Looks like GU024 is bucking to become the repeating darling of every damned ShuffleLog from here on out. But we've ended the back-to-back streak at 2 (Tenacious D and Perfecto Chills). Confounding. Perhaps my iPod was better rested than I was from this past weekend. 3 trips to Brooklyn will do that to ya.

Friday, September 15, 2006

ShuffleLog 15-Sept-06: 2 Is a Significant Sample Size, Right?

OK, we're off to the races. First the ShuffleLog, then the esoteric commentary. I've also realized that I'm already inconsistent with the log format. Which is consistent for me.

ShuffleLog 15-Sept-06
Like William Black in Mallrats, let's take a step back and see if there's a schooner there.

  • What's with the dual Perfecto Chills tracks, back-to-back, like yesterday's back-to-Black?
  • Did AIR come up because yesterday's log included another atmospheric French band, Stereolab?
  • Another track from Danny Howells 24:7?
  • Yesterday I was asking about "Strawberry Fields" from GU24, and got a GU24 track today. Fishy.
  • While I dig The Lovemakers, "Runaway" isn't my favorite from that album, and gets less intentional play than other tracks like "Prepare For The Fight" and its various remixes, "Dance", "Shake That Ass", etc. iTunes counts that stuff.
  • Arcade Fire is the token BRMC from yesterday.
So far, it's looking like I'm averaging 7 tracks a commute. Out of 613, that's 1.1% of available songs to draw from on any given day.

Someone shoot me if this ends up in a spreadsheet. Discuss.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

ShuffleLog Makes It All Go Away

Hey kids. As a West Coast transplant to NYC, sent to invade and degrade the quality of life here in New York, it's natural that I start a blog. But it's not your typical navel-gazing with detailed descriptions of the contents of my dogs' poop. That's reserved for a separate blog entirely.

No, ShuffleLog is just some hair-brained idea I had while hungover on the subway to work. Since I'm simply not inspired enough in the morning to even select the music that's most appropriate for drowning out the teeming masses on the 1 train, I usually just set my iPod Nano to Shuffle Songs. I've got 613 songs in my iPod right now, so I figure that should keep me entertained for weeks.

But is there a ghost in the machine?

I started to notice some patterns. When I was actually paying attention, of course. Why was The Postal Service constantly coming up? Why was the same Lyrics Born song ("I Changed My Mind") always selected, when there are 16 tracks on that album (Same !@#$ Different Day)? Why wasn't "Strawberry Fields" from Global Underground: Reykjavik playing, which is among my Top 25 Most Played?

Now, there could be a load of logical reasons behind this. Namely, I was a little hungover. Or I was simply mis-remembering, transposing one Lyrics Born song for another. Or any number of iTunes algorithms were at play, including ratings I had selected (minimal), playlists I had created, or the frequency to which I listened to certain songs or artists.

So, let's put this to the test: are there secret Contact-esque patterns to Shuffle Songs on the iPod? More importantly, does anyone really care?

I'm going to post, with some undetermined frequency, the log of my iPod when I'm listening to it on shuffle on the way to work from the 72nd St. 1-2-3 station to Houston St. Usually 25 minutes worth of tunes. But trying in vain to remember or catalog the shuffled playlist en route starts to distract and defeat the purpose of listening to music on the way to work (enjoyment/boredom/distraction/avoidance of interaction with fellow passengers/aloofness). Luckily, I found a much easier solution: when I get to work, simply hitting the back ("|<<") button allows me to scroll through tracks that had been previously presented at random. ShuffleLog 14-Sept-06

Lyrics Born, "Can't Wait For Your Love"
Tenacious D, "Trubute"
Tenacious D, "Inward Singing"
Oakland Faders, "Track 06"
Laurent Garnier, "Sambou" (Danny Howells, 24:7, disk 2)
Stereolab, "Ticker-Tape of the Unconscious"
Black Rebel Mortorcycle Club, "Sympathetic Noose"

Apart from the back-to-back Tenacious D tracks, this doesn't tell me anything except that it's a typical random sampling of my musical tastes: hip-hop, turntableism, indy, trance, and Stereolab. Yes, I loaded up the iPod, and it reflects the music I like, but it's not a self-selected playlist. It doesn't represent a mood or theme or phase in my life. It's ostensibly random. Maybe it, standalone, doesn't tell me much about anything. But comparing it, over time, to dozens of other ShuffleLogs(tm) just might.

Who knows what will happen? Maybe (and this is a big if) someone will read this. In doing so, they may discover some music they're interested in. I'm going to invite folks to post their ShuffleLogs too. Perhaps I'll stick it all in a spreadsheet and have someone analyze it. But mostly this is just a goof, to see what happens.

Like I said, I was a little hungover.