A funny collision of things happened yesterday morning. I had just listened to a Broken Record podcast in which Rick Rubin chatted with Dave Cobb, and in the middle of the mutual love-fest, Rick said that the latest musician to have really excited him was James Blake. I’ve never heard of James Blake, so much so that I didn’t even start listening to the Broken Record episode two before, in which Rick and James chatted. That’s me, ignorant and opinionated. But willing to explore.

Not an hour later, someone — and I really have no recollection who, so if it was you, raise your hand so I can give credit — posted a link to Music Map with a promise, as I recall, that it would free your music discoveries from Spotify’s magic clutches. Off I hastened, checking how good it might be by bunging in a few of my favourites and then agreeing, mostly, with the way it mapped other artists around them. On a whim, I plugged in the name James Blake, and the most surprising thing about the result was that there was not one single name in his orbit that I was familiar with. Not one.

Diagram of James Blake neighbours rendered in music map

I’m currently listening to Blake’s The Colour in Anything, the album Rick Rubin worked on. It’s very pleasant, melodious and minimal, and I can’t understand the lyrics at all, which is a blessing because I can’t work while listening to lyrics I can understand. Maybe I’ll add it to my music to work to playlist. Can’t be certain yet. I do suspect that I would never have just listened had I not first seen exactly how lost I was by looking Blake up in Music Map.

Music Map’s parent, as it were, is the Global Network of Discovery, which looks like a bunch of fun. And I think it may already have recommended the next novel I will read.

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