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Personal Music Discoveries for 2011 (Thanks Spotify!)

One of the best parts about working at Spotify is being paid to listen to music. After all some has to do the quality assurance! Actually, our QA guys and gals do a great job… but I can’t help myself 🙂

This year I’ve spent a lot of time with my old favorites, recapitulating my youth and young adulthood into playlists. You can find all my playlists here: JPavley’s Spotify profile.

But the known is not the topic of this blog post: Today, one of the final days of 2011, I want to tell you about unknown music.

Spotify has over 15 million tracks available in the US and I doubt that I’ve listened to more than 3000 different songs in my entire lifetime. It’s hard to guess but generally as we age our tastes settle and we stick to what we know. As much as I love the familiar I love the thrill of discovery even more! It’s painful for me to think about music that I may never hear yet that I would love if I had the chance to heard it.

Here are my top 10 personal music discoveries for 2011*:

10. Wire – Red Barked Trees Tension and power slowly build up “to find the healing red barked trees”.

9. Harald Grosskopf – VIVACISSIMO CON MOTO – Album Mix Like a mini sci-fi epic Grosskopf’s a great sound track for living in the future.

8. Röyksopp – Keyboard Milk Scary but mentally danceable.

7. Zomby – Witch Hunt Another scary, haunting song with a fast tempo and bonus gun shots.

6. The Cinematic Orchestra – Evolution – versao portuense Slow and relentless and dreamy.

5. Digitalism – Miami Showdown I grok the repeating patterns that ebb and flow around a central beat.

4. 8 Bit Weapon – 64 Gigabit Mario Epic Like something out of a electronic Miyazaki movie.

3. Wye Oak – Two Small Deaths Could be electronic-pattern-based but actually made by Indy humans.

2. Lullatone – My Second Favorite Song In The World I could live inside this song for ever.

1. John Fahey – Sligo Mud Starts out like a blue standard and moves into abstract and concrete bliss.

Each of these artists is new to me. Hearing each track for the first time was more like remembering something that was missing than finding something new.

Here’s the complete playlist: Personal Discoveries 2011

* This is new-to-me not necessarily new-to-the-world. There is a lot of back catalog that I’ve missed over the years!