I enjoy using data visualisation to explore things that aren’t usually visible, but that we all recognise; such as in the analysis of music.
This can make you realise how much really goes into making your favourite records, and the patterns that can (intentionally or unintentionally) arise in the composition of the songs and albums.
I’ve taken one of my favourite bands, Jurassic 5, and analysed their four sample-heavy albums to see what’s going on.
The full-size version of the data visualisation can be seen here.
At the top of the visualisation you can see a comparison of album lengths, and number of songs and samples per album. It’s clear that the band’s use of samples dropped significantly throughout their career. It must also be considered that a single track on the first album (Lesson 6: The Lecture”, by Cut Chemist) contained (at least) 18 samples alone, some of which were also then re-used for the reprise later on the album. I made the decision to count both uses of each sample, as they were used differently each time.
One of the most interesting trends I discovered was on the sample timeline. The vast majority of beat and instrumental samples used come from the late 1960s and early 1970s, whereas the majority of the vocal samples are found in the 1980s. I really liked this part of the visualisation – I think it pretty much sums up the band’s “sound”… on a graph.
At the bottom of the visualisation, the circular chart shows the songs of the band’s career from start to finish, clockwise (starting and finishing at the top of the ring). Internal contributions (from band members and guest artists) are shown within the ring, whereas external contributions (samples) are shown outside the ring. At times, the band self-sampled their own tracks – this is highlighted by the connections in the centre, and the coloured sample blocks outside the ring.
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What happened when? Who changed what? Where did everybody go? I decided to find out.
500 major events from throughout history, displayed on concurrent timelines.
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