Monday, October 18, 2010

One the Program Today ...

"What does it mean to be able to enjoy uncertainty?"

The above quote comes from this article by Bill Bahng Boyer, where the ethnomusicologist explores the relationship between Western conceptions of human subjectivity and technology, looking particularly at the change in the musical experience in light of the development of the iPod shuffle. I don't want to say too much about the article here (other than that you should really read it). However, it has inspired me to finally do something on my show that I have thus far been unwilling to do. For tonight's show I'm giving up control to my iPod, pressing shuffle and then pressing play. Each set I play tonight will be initially determined by the shuffle function of my iPod, which will randomly choose the first song of each set. Following this, I will do my best to make a 15-20 min. long set arising out of the randomly chosen song.

This could prove to be difficult, or extremely easy, depending on what ends up coming up randomly (and no I won't be censoring anything), as I will still also be determined by Can-Con rules and the fact that I'm supposed to be playing mostly new material. I'll post the playlist first thing tomorrow, and will have further comments then.

Wish me luck!


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  2. So, how would you situate this experiment in relation to your article (last year) about listening to the radio as a way of giving up control. I was under the impression that you were setting the radio up against a more individualized, more controlled listening experience via ipod culture. Does the shuffle function give you more or less control than the radio? In the end, I guess, both are still quite limited. But what you're doing here is playing one form off the other, so I guess the it's even more out of control for the listener. It's quite a bit more threatening to your own credibility as a DJ to let the "ipod god" choose for you. I commend your bravery.

  3. Thanks Jonathan. There is a difference in iPod vs radio usage between the DJ and the listener. I believe my point earlier was that there is something lost by turning off the radio and listening to your own playlist, in that you are letting someone else decide what music you should listen to, namely, the DJ. For the DJ, however, difference between the two mediums is probably stark. To say that I'm letting go of control in the studio is a bit ridiculous (although mistakes do happen that totally throw me off). This is what I was trying to play with on Monday,(who do I 'let go' in the studio?) and the more I think about it, the less successful I think the experiment was. My iPod is pretty predictable, and I'm fully aware of everything that's on there, and nothing could really ever throw me for a loop. That I had to come up with 20 mins sets on beginning with France Gall, Freddie Hubbard, and Blackout Beach hardly pushed me out of my comfort zone. So, I don't know how brave this whole thing ended up being.