One of my favorite things about music is how clearly it adheres to the dialectical mode of thesis (let’s use more synthesizers!), antithesis (no, let’s use more guitars!) and synthesis (LCD Soundsystem). For that reason, some of the most exciting mixtapes or playlists are those that make connections across time and space, revealing how musical artists quote one another, whether consciously or not, approvingly or as a critique.
I’ve been impressed with the Apple iTunes Genius playlist generator lately which I assume uses software sound analysis along with social or human filtering to generate associations between recordings. But it fails utterly at creating playlists that span across time. It’s a failing that once revealed all but completely undermines the “genius” moniker.