Whenever I am listening to something off YouTube, and the selection in question ends and I'm distractedly doing something else and not making an active choice about what to listen to next... then what plays next automatically is invariably a dub techno mix. Something that descends from Basic Channel / Chain Reaction but drained of all swing, soul, and sensuality.
Things like this
as created by this anonymous - conceivably nonhuman - YouTube channel
What puzzles me is that this is not music that I habitually listen to, or indeed ever listen to. So where is the algo getting its data from? On what is it basing these suppositions about my supposed audio sweet spot?
If it was tracking my purposeful activity on Youtube - playlisting, watch-listens, searches etc - and wanted to come up with something appealing to make stick me around... well, it ought to be choosing something from the following categories: peak-era ardkore and jungle, pirate radio sets and pirate radio adverts, weird old East European animations, Britcoms and TV plays from the 1970s, various sorts of avant-garde and electronic library music, maybe some jazz fusion and some reggae...
Below-par dub techno - it's one of the the last things I'd ever want to hear! Right down there with trance and landfill indie,
Truthfully, it's music that I've never listened to - except for a period in the late '90s when I scooped up all the classic Basic Channel and for a while religiously bought each new Chain Reaction until the label went right off the boil. I did like Pole. I loved Gas.
If I was going to listen to that kind of thing, I would listen to exactly that kind of thing - those artists, those labels. I wouldn't seek out some dilute knock-off version.
But clearly YouTube thinks it's got the measure of me and that's someone who's easily palmed off with the ersatz and tertiary-level derivative.
Perhaps it can tell that I'm preoccupied with something else, work or reading an article or following some internet spoor ... and thinks to itself "hmmm, this old fart would like something vaguely dancey yet inconspicuous, that'll putter along warmly and soothingly in the background".
On the contrary - every time it drops into that marshmallowy amorphogroove, I jolt into alertness, exasperated - "not this shit again!".
I swear there was a week or two where it was the exact same mix that would restart in any YouTube lull.
Mind you, these dub techno and ambient techno and ambient dub techno mixes, they are all such featureless blanks, so boringly and un-alluringly titled, I might just be imagining it's the identical mix each time...