I’ve posted before about how the file-based sterility of MP3 listening habits blot out much of the romance of musical discovery, and how the concept of an album as an indivisible artistic totality has all but been erased (I’m not so sure that’s a bad thing – there’s a whole lot of crap on a whole lot of good records, and I scuttle dud tracks without a shred of guilt).
Adding to the discussion, Dave Mandi wonders what shuffle mode is doing to the art of the segue — the ease (and the thrill) of letting a computer or an iPod choose tracks from a collection at random is diminishing the art of the well-selected transition. In Praise of the Segue:
With MP3s becoming the de facto currency of music listening and trading, and with shuffle mode becoming a more and more common way of programming an hour of music—Apple’s recent introduction of the iPod Shuffle is pretty clear evidence of that—the art of the set and the segue is in imminent danger of dying. … We have the opportunity to create greater meta-masterpieces than ever, tailored to people’s moods, or the time of day, or the weather. Why destroy all that by getting lazy and pushing the “shuffle” button?
It’s all true, but… I love shuffle mode, not afraid to admit it. Creating thoughtful transitions is something I make time for when burning the Christmas CDs. For daily listening, accidental random musical collisions charge me up.