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“Teargarden” track-ordering problem now to become unmanageable 11:01 pm // Monday, September 13, 2010

Posted by jjb in arithmetic, scary, teargarden by kaleidyscope.
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By sharing one MP3 at a time from new ‘album’ Teargarden by Kaleidyscope, the Smashing Pumpkins are creating a somewhat novel problem (or opportunity!) for their fans: the formation of a playlist.  While online music has always allowed listeners to reorder tracks, bands still tend to release albums with specified, or at least suggested, sequencing.  Teargarden does carry a couple of implicit orderings — one by the individual tracks’ dates of release, and one by the ordering of tracks on the physical EPs — but neither of these would seem to compel listeners’ recognition as The Artist’s Intended Ordering.

Tinkerers will be hard-pressed, however, to reach consensus on any one superior sequence, for the combinatorial space is absurdly vast — the number of possible orderings of N tracks is given by N factorial. A well-informed debate could perhaps be held regarding an ideal ordering of the five Teargarden tracks already released, as only 120 possibilities exist — but after the release of “Spangled” there will be a daunting 720 to evaluate, and once Teargarden has grown to 44 tracks there will be, like, (more…)


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