I generally like my iPods when they're freshly loaded from scratch, which means I don't have all those podcasts I won't ever get around to listening to, all those promo records I've listened to once and haven't remembered to delete, and all those safety-net albums that tend to accumulate in a "Steve Martin at the end of The Jerk" fashion. ("All I need is Either/Or. Either/Or and So Jealous and a couple of Cure records and a Cat Stevens greatest-hits collection and Figure 8.") The dozen gigabytes' worth of tunes that I tend to throw onto a new PMP in one fell swoop can usually double as a sort of snapshot of my current mood and musical obsessions, and often they follow a loose theme. For the iPod Nano I got for Xmas, that theme is something like "Krautrock and Also Songs That Sound Like the Results of an Experiment to Determine How High You Can Be and Still Make Beats."
So far that theme is treating me really well. Some examples after the jump:
Any mix that requires the words "beats" and "high" to describe will be incomplete without the work of intrepid high-grade smoker and beat deconstructionist Flying Lotus. I recently downloaded a few of his reimaginings of Lil Wayne songs—which, as you might expect given that he and Weezy are two of the most far-out musicians currently redefining hip-hop, are bonkers. Lotus's take on "I Feel Like Dying" makes you feel like you can indeed play basketball on the moon.
The fact that this version of "I Feel Like Dying" shows up on Hudson Mohawke's Essential Mix for BBC1 says a lot about the mood of Mohawke's mix as a whole. He seems to revel in smashing relatively straight-ahead hip-hop into much freakier stuff like dubstep and purple. I don't even know what you'd call what he did to Twista's "Overnight Celebrity," but I can say that it sounds something like Power 92 if it had been taken over by salvia freaks.
Shlohmo's "Hot Boxing the Cock Pit" has the dumbest song title this side of a Phish set list, but its combination of blown-out bass, chiptune burble, and beats that sound like they're in the process of disintegrating is extremely nice. Also: bird noises.
I've also put on every Joker track I've been able to get my hands on. I suggest that you try to get your hands on as many as possible. I don't think the kid has put out a single bad cut yet. His Purple Wow Sound mix is as good a place to start as any.