Earlier this week I started a new radio show titled “Algorythmic Radio” on ds106radio. I plan on doing one or two shows a week until I get tired of it. I have no real reason beyond the fact that I wanted to push myself to get back on the radio more regularly, and given I spent a fair amount of time letting Apple Music tell me what to listen to, I decided to turn that into a show. The concept is simple, take tracks from a recommended playlist Apple Music provides and play selected songs and provide commentary. I was inspired by Audrey’s “I Love My Label” talk at Davidson College over a year ago wherein she talks about the cultural implications of the move to digital music:
So given I have been leasing my music and teaching the machine to teach me what I like, I figured it might be interesting to document this over time. I am starting with the year-based algorythmically recommended lists, but have more than enough space to branch out. I started with 1987 because I was fairly impressed with the list them gave me:
So I spent the ensuing hour playing selected songs from the list, my choices for the show were as follows:
- “What Have I Done to Deserve This” Pet Shop Boys
- “Can’t Hardly Wait” The Replacements
- “Hit the North Pr. 1” The Fall
- “Schizophrenia” Sonic Youth
- “Shine On” House of Love
- “I’ve Been Tired” Pixies
- “April Skies” Jesus and the Marychain
- “Could You be the One?” Hüsker Dü
- “Son of a Gun” The Vaselines
There are a few gems in there, and I certainly like all of these songs. But, as usual, the coolest part of the show was driven by one of two known listeners, namely David Kernohan and Paul Bond. As I was playing the songs I clicked over to Wikipedia’s 1987 in Music page and starting reading out some fun facts, such as….
- January 16 – Beastie Boys become the first act to be censored by American Bandstand.
- February 14 – Bon Jovi‘s “Livin’ on a Prayer” reaches #1 in the USA. It would be 1987’s biggest hit song worldwide.
- March 9 – The career that would end in an infamous appearance at The Brit awards and the burning of a million pounds began in Britain, as The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu release their debut single, “All You Need Is Love“.
- September 3 – Fugazi plays their first live show (as a three-piece; Guy Picciotto had not joined the band yet) at the Wilson Center in Washington DC.
The The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu was new to me, but Kernohan was well aware of this avante-garde electronic music act of the 80s, and turned me on to The KLF. Thanks to the web, the best of online usually happens both because and in spite of the algorythms that everywhere shape our culture. Listen to the whole show weighing in at over an hour below: