Tuesday, February 21, 2012

If You Don't Know Where You're Going, Any Road Will Get You There

Even if your metadata is not sufficiently rich to let you sort your music autobiographically, you can still have fun with it. Let's play a music association game.

[Image: Connect the Dots Music Festival, Beaumont TX]

WDET-FM in Detroit runs an annual event called Music Head. Starting with a song submitted from a listener, in-studio guests "connect the dots" among artists, titles, and musical collaborations to create playlists where each succeeding song is somehow connected to the previous song.

Unfortunately, the listening audience experience of Music Head is a lot of near-dead air as the hosts and studio guests hem and haw, battling the clock to navigate a journey that has no destination on a road that diverges in all directions at every decision point. How can you judge the value of any choice? If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there.

Then, on her Essential Music show the following day, host Ann Delisi delivers a version of Music Head with a specific goal. Starting with a song previously submitted by a listener, she charts a path along associated metadata to create a connected playlist as before; but at some point, she has to reverse course and return along a different metadata path to arrive back at the starting song, and to come full circle in about an hour of running time. There's a real challenge.

To celebrate that challenge, here is the first Surface to Air Music Head Full Circle list. All songs come from my dematerialized music library:

Full-size table here. Annotated table with all the associations here.
What do you think? I intend to publish Full Circle lists from time to time. Readers are encouraged to submit song sugesstions via the Comment Form or via email. Let's collaborate on a journey.

            Vinyl-to-Digital Restoration #20            

Artist: Blondie
Title: Parallel Lines
Genre: Alternative
Year: 1978
More than five years before the Parents Music Resource Center (aka the "Washington Wives") advocated warning labels on physical music media for potentially objectionable content, the original LP release of Parallel Lines had the following label affixed to the shrink wrap: CONTAINS THE UNCUT, UNCENSORED VERSION OF 'HEART OF GLASS.' The line bleeped by radio station censors: "... it was a pain in the ass." Could anyone possibly be offended by it today?

            Vinyl-to-Digital Restoration #21            

Artist: Philip Glass
Title: The Photographer
Genre: Contemporary
Year: 1983
January 27, 2012 was the 75th birthday of composer Philip Glass. Among the tributes and retrospectives, the radio program Fresh Air ran an previously-unbroadcast This American Life conversation between Philip Glass and his cousin, host Ira Glass. For me, the highlight of the exchange was this quote: "Style is specialized technique. You can't have style until you have mastered technique."

© 2012 Thomas G. Dennehy. All rights reserved.

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