Finding Aspen


Last week, I ran into an interesting mental exercise. I woke up with a song playing in my head that I had not heard for at least a year. It kept playing in my head as I got ready for work. Then on my way to work, I started playing other music so I kind of forgot about it. Later in the day, I was in a meeting at work and it popped in my head again. Then again it came to me when I got home that evening. So I set out to find it.

It’s an electronic song so there are no lyrics. If there were any lyrics, I would’ve searched online with some combination of words and guesses, I would’ve found it. But it was an instrumental song so I didn’t really have much to go off of to start my search.

I started looking around 8pm, first by looking through the the playlists containing any electronic music in my Spotify library. This made me realize how many tiny and unfinished playlists I have while at the same time, I rediscovered some forgotten gems. But even with all the manual looking around, I couldn’t find the song I was looking for.

Then I decided it’s time to use some of my programming chops to make things easier to find. I got the full list of my scrobbles in last.fm and filtered them based on artists, duplicates, and anything else that was doable at that point. If I remember correct, I started with about 7k songs I ended up with about 1500 songs at that point. At this point, I felt like this list was pretty big but not impossible to parse through manually again.

At one point I wanted to create a playlist of all the songs in Spotify so it would be easier to skip each song. But after going through oAuth and jumping through all the hoops to get Spotify to cooperate, I was tired and it was around 11pm. I had heard maybe 200 different songs at this point. Definitely some gems and some close ones but none were the song I was looking for.

I went to sleep with an annoying desire to hear this song. And I hoped maybe by the morning the song would be out of my head.

The next day I woke up and thanks to the human brain being so well evolved, I was still obsessed with the song. The same electronic beat played with the distinct backing vocals that I can’t properly verbalize.

But fortunately, sleep brings some good ideas, one being the following: look at the top songs I had listened to in 2018 instead of 2019 since I definitely don’t remember listening to it in 2019. So, as I started scanning the list. After scanning the first page without even listening to each song, I went to the second page on last.fm and there it was, my 94th most heard song in 2018, Aspen by Attlas.

Listen to see if you can hear what I heard for pretty much a full day of my life without knowing what it was.

Youtube link in case Spotify loses the track

Some background on the song: it was featured on the first episode of deadmau5’s mau5trap radio show on Apple Music.