Friday, April 28, 2006

Ever had the feeling that, despite being surrounded by literally thousands of records, you don't want to listen to any of them? It happens to me a lot (which is why I've ended up with lots of records, I guess) and at these times I want to have new and exciting music suggested to me. In the old days that meant a trip to the music store, or buying a magazine, but in these high tech times there is an alternative. Several online recommendation services exist, in varying forms, but the one I've just come across and want to share with you is Pandora.

It works very simply - tell it a couple of artists that you enjoy and it scours it's database for related music. I've been playing around with it this morning and it's pretty spot on. I told it that I like John Coltrane and Archie Shepp, and so far I've had some Albert Ayler, late period Roy Haynes, and Joshua Redman, among others. Playing right now is a track called 'Gathering Of The Spirits' by Michael Brecker, Dave Liebman and Joe Lovano, and very good it is too, with it's 3-sax interplay and general air of freeness. Pandora says that it's been selected because "it features... a contrapuntal melodic presentation and mixed major and minor tonalities". Seems it knows what I like better than I do. It links through to allmusic for further info, too.

Crikey, now it's playing 'Naima' from Archie Shepp's groundbreaking 'Four For Trane', which is one of my most favourite tunes. It really does know my music taste better than I do! Go check it out and see if it knows your taste just as well.



Peter MacDonald said...

That is a great site... too bad it's only available to the U.S. for now :( Does anyone know of any similar sites available to Canadians?

Øystein said...

For what it's worth, you needn't be an American at all. You just need to know an American zipcode, eh. Just add yourself as an honorable cast member to the television series Beverly Hill 90210, for instance. Worked for this European, anyways.

craig said...

Of course you only need a zip code if you want to register, otherwise anyone can join in the fun. (But i'm registered. And I live in the UK. Oh, how did that happen?)