Thursday, May 22, 2008

Speaking of RNGs

Non-poker content

Okay, no poker content, but an extreme one-outer.

So my iPod presently has about 9900 or so songs on it, from at least about 800 different albums. Since some of what I've picked up over the years are various Rhino Nuggets-type box sets, compilations, and such, I couldn't even begin to guess the total number of artists, but the number has to be at least 1100 or so.

Now, we've all got our favorites, and I have mine. There are a small number of bands for whom I have pretty much their entire catalog on my iPod, which means there are rare instances where I may have two versions of the same song by the same artist, but from two different performances (never mind other weird things such the seven different versions I've collected of the instro-surf classic "Squad Car" by seven different bands, and never mind this terrible run-on sentence). There are other instances where I may have two versions of the same song by the same band, but only have a handful of tracks by that band on my iPod, in total.

Well, I hit the ultimate one-outer on the way to work today. Here I am, crusing down I-25, to the badass strains of the Afghan Whigs' most-excellent track "Debonair", from their album "Gentlemen" -- this being a live version recorded at the Howlin Wolf and released on a short run EP, back in '95 or so. At any rate, what happens immediately afterwards? Obvious. The very next song played on my iPod is "Debonair", this time, the studio version from their album "Gentlemen". 'natch.

The kicker is, because the screen on my iPod has gone to shit, my iPod is set to play 100% randomly. No playlists, no ordering, strictly random. The same song. By the same band. From two different recordings (the only two versions I have). Consecutive. About 9900:1 odds. Who'da thunk it. The Apple and JokerStars RNGs were clearly written by the same guy.

Oh yeah, Afghan Whigs were truly one of the great bands of the 90s, pretty much the perfect combination of indie/grunge/soul. Greg Dulli is now, and has always been, the Curtis Mayfield of indie rock, in my book, and much more so in his present incarnation as The Twilight Singers, but I digress.

Something else of mild interest, the live version of "Debonair", in addition to quoting Dean Stockwell's "Ben" (from Blue Velvet) played approximately 10bpm faster than the studio version. Huh. The slower studio version is actually a bit more menacing.

Their live set I saw in 1996 is still one of the greatest single sets of music I've seen, and one of the few to top it was Dulli's solo show at DC's The Black Cat...2003, I believe that was. Okay, digression's gone far enough for one post.

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