Dymaxion Rotation

Dymaxion Rotation

Discovering new music has become more difficult for me in recent years, for two key reasons. The first is that I've had less time to spend reading the music press, which was always my favourite source of recommendations. The second is that music itself has splintered into zillions of microtrends that pop up and vanish like bubbles in glass of cola. Following one is not easy.

To try and combat this problem, I've developed a system. I named it after Buckminster Fuller's favourite portmanteau, Dymaxion, which is a combination of "dynamic", "maximum" and "tension". His goal was always "maximum gain of advantage from minimal energy input". That's exactly what I'm trying to do here.

There are three parts of the system - input, processing, and archive.

Input is handled primarily by two playlists. My Spotify Discover Weekly, which gives me new songs each week that algorithms think I might like, and this Spotify version of the BBC 6 Music playlist, which gives me new songs each week that humans think I might like. I try to listen to both at least once each week.

(A brief aside: I like finding ways in which I can combine the best work of humans and computers. A human-computer pairing in the world of chess is called a "centaur", and they frequently beat the best humans and best computers working alone.)

Any time I hear a song that I like, either when I'm listening to those playlists or elsewhere, it immediately moves to processing - i.e. my main playlist, Dymaxion Rotation. This consists of ten songs that I like right now. Here they are:

When I don't know what to listen to, I listen to this. If any songs start annoying me after a few more listens, they get deleted and are never seen again. But mostly songs just slowly pass down the list until they hit the ten-song limit.

That's when they're passed into the third stage - archive. I have a playlist called Dymaxion Archive that archives every song I've loved over the past five years or so. At the time of writing, that's 497 songs. Here they all are:

I love this system because I do very little work (listen to a couple of new music playlists each week) and I get two fantastic playlists out - "stuff I love now" and "stuff I loved but haven't listened to in a while".

It's also very flexible - if life happens, and I miss a week or a month or even half a year, nothing breaks. I just pick it right up again where I left off.

What's your system for keeping track of new music? Tell me in great detail.