Q – Ever heard of the Pandora internet radio ? Just enter the name of an artist or a track you like and the radio will stream songs musically similar to your choice. And a short description will come with every selection. I experimented with Lloyd Cole and this is how it turned out.
The radio started with “For crying out loud” from the Love Story album, to examplify my choice. The song was described as one containing “folk influences, mild rhythmic syncopation, repetitive melodic phrasing, mixed acoustic and electric instrumentation and major key tonality”. It went on with songs by Eric Anders, Onlyforward and Something for Kate. And then back to LC with “Headlights” from the Plastic Wood album. The song was characterised by “idm influences, ambient soundscapes, a repetitive sound structure, use of tonal harmonies and a slow moving bass line”. Songs by Eluvium, Harold Budd, Gerd, and Chris Coco and Sacha Puttnam followed. And back again to LC with “Love ruins everything” from the Love Story album. Beside what was already said for the first LC track, this song was chosen because it contained “a subtle use of vocal harmony and chromatic harmonic structure”. Tracks by Alexis Harte, Bart Davenport, Gorky’s Zigotic Mynci and Calexico were then aired until I switched the radio off.
While other web-based radio would mainly play 80s stuff like Echo and the Bunnymen, The The, The Lilac Time, Aztec Camera or Julian Cope , Pandora’s approach seems more original in the connections it makes and therefore more helpful to discover new artists.

A – I thought it had taken me two years to get around to addressing this question/suggestion, but my wife reminds me that I did try it and when I entered myself it suggested Billy Joel so I immediately judged it as rubbish.
Well, it’s by no means perfect but I did just find some great piano music and a piece by Phillip Glass that I like! So it’s ironic that as I finally sign up the music industry in the UK has outlawed the model. Too bad. I’m off to check out Peter Gabriel’s iTunes plug in ‘The Filter’ right now – id it seems at all useful I’ll post something.

Link to original article online

Publication date: 29/06/2006