Like music curated by humans? Try Conduit: It’s definitely more interesting than machine-curated sets.

I like to hang out on Ello. It’s got a lot of awesome creative content on it right now — and is defying all the predictions that it would be a short-lived “Facebook” that is somehow less terrible than “Facebook” in experience. It’s not at all dead.

When you understand what the platform is about, you find that Ello is really a hub for the arts. I don’t know where else I can create something in an afternoon and have people who do similar things respond so quickly. The platform is about so much more than building a fanbase, or a friend base. It’s about being inspired and finding inspiration.

In my Ello travels, I find lots of awesome things.

This week, I found Conduit, and won a free year of the service just by commenting. It was pretty awesome. In the world of music, I’ve won concert tickets in the past, and I’ve gotten the chance to talk to awesome musicians and blog about it. Breaking down the greater experience behind the rhythm and beat is something I enjoy.

And I, like most people, generally don’t tend to think much of “free.” I’ve had several press passes, which are more about the labor involved than “freedom” by any stretch of the imagination. But when it comes to reporting on media, for me, it’s always a labor of love. Art is life. Life is art. I live and breathe it.

I found in an afternoon of listening that Conduit, and its method of human curation, is surprisingly good. Not just good. But notable. This is a service that is actually doing something for me that others aren’t. It’s definitely worth the $1 a month for three months to try. I’ll have to keep listening and examining playlists to see if it’s worth the $6 that is still far under what more “robust” services charge.

In the sets I listened to, there were moments that honestly felt a little more like magic in a way that curating my own lists on Spotify doesn’t give me, in a way predictive algorithms like those pioneered on Pandora can’t match.

I found the kind of surprises I used to look for when I made mixtapes off of the radio off of Saturday night club sets as a pre-teen, and the moments when I’d stand in the middle of an extended set being spun at a backyard barbecue by some of my closest friends, or even their sets at a burn community party.

I really like this kind of magic. It keeps things interesting. You might want to know more about how Conduit works though, if you want to invest in it for yourself.

Here are five solid reasons I’m looking forward to a new listening alternative via Conduit this year:

It’s structured in a way where I can pick a channel to groove to for hours.

These curated sets aren’t about quick fixes. They’re full-on sensory experiences that envelop the listener in mood. I felt like I was in a late 90’s Chicago coffeehouse scene as I brewed my own drip off of ground dark roast and listened to Jahsonic’s Late Night City Vibes set I found in a category called “SoulTerrain.”

It was so much more than sounds strung together in a way they might sound pleasing. It was about a journey through patterns of sound meant to create a very specific vibe. It was legit.

It’s got variety. It’s not just “House.”

I don’t even know if “House” is a big thing anymore, but it was a serious thing in the culture I came from. There are numerous channels, and the hour-long playlists Conduit contains are numbered and indexed. Some of them are even structured to feel like a real, old school mixtape. You can really feel the personality of the DJ shine through in every set.

The categories are entirely up to the artist, a bit nebulous, but 100% wild and fierce.

I am not exactly sure what a tag for “beats like butterfly wings” is representing, but it’s intriguing.

It’s carefully curated by people who love to D.J.

Conduit’s creator literally eats, breathes and sleeps music, and teaches classes on how to DJ in Denver, while serving and working in its tech-conscious community at Dojo4. These people don’t just love to spin, they love to create music that creates a serious sense of flow and have impressive resumes.

It’s easy to categorize and link up to content I can buy, if I love it and want to keep it forever.

I can click links to take me to tracks that are available on Amazon and iTunes. That’s pretty awesome stuff if I want to take something with me to the beach, or for my morning jog.

I can also like songs individually within sets, by clicking the thumb icon in the lower right-hand corner, which is awesome stuff for when I’m so in the groove all of the sounds start harmoniously blending together — should I want to revisit them.

This is more than just awesome music.

So. Conduit. Definitely conducive to fueling my writing and general lifestyle with excellently curated sound. Also, easy to navigate, and responsive to tech problems, as DJ Joel Davis personally responded to me for mine.

If nothing else, it was completely worth it just to hear the DJ Drez & Marti Nikko rendition of Under the Bridge.