September 2006

So, someone introduced me to not too long ago, and since my iPod got stolen at work, I’m back to listening to Internet radio, at least until the network admin slaps my wrist for sucking up too much bandwidth. (Side note: Just last weekend, my car stereo got jacked while I was parked at a friend’s house in Takoma Park. The music gods are not smiling upon me.)

Pandora is designed to help you discover music that you’ll like. It does this by playing songs with similar attributes to artists and songs you already enjoy. You can create different “stations” for different genres of music, or mush the genres together by entering dissimlar artists and songs into one station. (I haven’t tried this tactic.) You then can refine your stations by rating the music that Pandora selects from you. Thumbs up, and the song stays. Thumbs down, and it doesn’t play again.

The station I listen to the most started with the artist Death Cab for Cutie, then The Postal Service, then Frou Frou. After a couple of months of feedback from me, it has expanded well beyond these three, and sometimes plays Madonna, Bjork, New Order, and the Pet Shop Boys. I asked Pandora why it was playing a particular song today on this station, and it said, “Based on what you’ve told us so far, we’re playing this track because it features synth rock arranging, electronica influences, a subtle use of vocal harmony and many other similarities identified in the music genome project.” Not all of the songs have a pop/electronic sound to them. If I could, I would add a feature where I could tell Pandora I like a song, but don’t want it to play in this particular station. For now I’m simply avoiding giving these songs an up or a down. We’ll see how well that works.

Listen to my station, Emotronic. Registration NOT required.

Still trying to process the trip to Burning Man 2006. Once the salient points congeal I’ll write a bit more. For now, you should check out our friend Fitz’s take on the trip:

The gang cozies up in Plan A.
In Plan A

The man burns.
Burning Man