Data Visualization from the Motor City

Kate Bush Album Moods Network

This is the first visualization in a series of musical network graphs based on user-generated moods on the website. This one is based on the moods for the iconic British vocalist Kate Bush, who burst on the music scene at the age of 19 with her debut album The Kick Inside.

The goal here is to display each album linked to the moods experienced by listeners of the music, using data from the AllMusic site. Each mood is represented by a graph node (circle) of a specific color based on the mood category (my subjective categorization). Seven categories are included and depicted by color:

  • Angry
  • Excited
  • Fantasy
  • Fearful
  • Happy
  • Pensive
  • Sad

This approach is designed to make it easy for viewers to discern the general approach of an artist; in addition users can select specific recordings (albums) to see how they differ by moods – are specific recordings happier than others? More pensive? More excitable? You get the idea. Each recording node is in a silver tone (similar to a CD) while each mood is colored by one of the seven categories referred to above. Links between recordings and moods are shown as edges in the graph; selecting an album or mood node shows all related nodes.

Here’s a view of the entire graph:

Kate Bush album moods network

We can open up the left side of the graph to reveal additional information. For example, an overview of the graph when the page is first loaded:

Kate Bush album moods network with sidebar detail

Selecting any of the graph nodes will update information in the left pane. We’ll select the Hounds of Love album to illustrate:

Moods associated with the Hounds of Love album

You can now see the selected Hounds of Love node and each of the related moods. Unrelated nodes are still displayed but without connecting edges. We can update the display by selecting the edges button on the bottom left of the display. Here’s the updated view:

Moods associated with the Hounds of Love album; only connected nodes displayed

Note also how the search box shows the Hounds of Love selection; this search box can be used as an alternative approach to navigate the graph.

A pair of final notes on navigating the graph – you have the ability to zoom using the controls at the bottom left of the window. Use the plus or minus symbols or the slider to zoom in or out of the graph. You can also select the magnifying glass to highlight areas of the graph as you move over them.

My recommendation is to start clicking on the graph, zooming in or out, and dragging the graph around to reveal connections in the data. Have fun!

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