Friday, October 19, 2012

iPod Shuffle doesn't repeat? Then explain Lang Lang!


A blackjack card counter might not beat the iPod odds, but that doesn't make Shuffle random. Most likely it's an algorithm we haven't cracked but a formula just the same.

In any case the game's fixed: We choose what to load on the device, so patterns are there to be found. On my aging iPod Touch, it's an equal mix of roughly 7-minute classical selections I've been replaying for years and music of all sorts that caught my attention in just the last six months — stumbled-upon library CDs, Loop noon-hour concert selections, acquisitions for Brenda's gym playlist.

Today after recharging, the same shuffle started to replay. A random act? A failing battery? Steve Jobs' reach from beyond the grave? Whatever the reason, attention must be paid. Listen to the blues long enough, and odds are you'll find a shuffle pattern:

Lang Lang: Albéniz - Iberia, Fête-dieu à Seville
Jill Barber: If It Weren't for Loving You
Johnny Cash: If You Could Read My Mind
Kings of Leon: The Immortals
Artur Rubenstein: Chopin - Impromptu No. 3 in G-flat
Black Stone Cherry: In My Blood
Beach Boys: In My Room
OK Go: In the Glass
Cage the Elephant: Indy Kids
Decemberists: The Infanta
Artur Rubenstein: Brahms - Intermezzo in A-flat
Lacuna Coil: Intoxicated
Keith Jarrett & Charlie Hayden: I'm Gonna Laugh You Right Out of My Life
OK Go: Invincible
Jonas Kaufmann: Verdi - "Io l'ho perduta! ... lo la vida"
John Mayall: It Ain't Right
Airborne Toxic Event: It Doesn't Mean a Thing
REM: It Happened Today
Passion Pit: It's Not My Fault I'm Happy
Easley Blackwood: Ives - Piano Sonata #2