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Shirley and Spinoza Radio saves listener from deep funk, at least for now

Shirley and Spinoza Radio

Shirley and Spinoza radio

I don’t listen to the radio much anymore, because there’s nothing on that I can count on either enjoying or finding interesting. And so far as the Internet can create your own channel services, like Pandora or Slacker, they seem to me oddly impersonal and somehow too predictable.

But now I’ve found Shirley and Spinoza Radio. It’s a source of almost endless delight to me. The more creative part of humanity’s bubbling unconscious seems to have found a portal here, and its stuff is all queued up and pouring out now: German disaffected acoustic romantic ennui more sentimental than anything heard in America! Chinese instrumentals on instruments I’ve never heard, with a startlingly new timbre. And suddenly, in front of such music, dialogues that sound like Samuel Beckett on a humorous brew of unseemly drugs. Like this one, with a male and a female voice taking turns repeating stuff like this:

[ Ambient Debussy is in the background, alternating with slightly troubling Hitchcock: ]

—Do you have any suggestions for the more efficient use of our equipment?
—Think before you speak. A brief description of your reactions, please.
—I don’t remember. It seems to be interesting. They were making a loud noise. Are you in charge of this department?
— Let us put that theory into practice.
— What are they planning to do now?
—Consult the directory.
—It might take too much time.
—Keep to the right. Follow the signs. Dial the number. I shall welcome any questions or suggestions you may have. I shall be there.
—He does not know.

Then, in a squeaky thirties sound just this sound of Mickey Mouse annoying:

“On the Bowery, the Bowery, I’ll never go there any more.
On the Bowery, the bowery, they say such things and they do three things
On the Bowery, the bowery, I’ll never go there any more.”

Then some wildly serious rock organ music that every once in while stops so a guy can intone: “Tequila”. Then Cuban piano jazz, then swing, then ragtime. An archive that threatens to engulf the rest of my life. Lots of electronic music made in China. If the site is to be believed – or understood, even – a great deal of this has been DJ ‘d, or recorded, or posted, or concocted, in China.

Sidney Bechet. French Melancholic Accordion. Sitar played like it was a harpsichord. Lionel Hampton. Enoch Light. Dalai Lama Tango. Songs in languages that I’m not sure exist, blending in and out of something Japanese-like to something Arabic-sounding. The universe starts to sound like a vast, endlessly interesting place. All is not lost. Yet.

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4 Responses to Shirley and Spinoza Radio saves listener from deep funk, at least for now

  1. the Remote Operator February 21, 2010 at 11:21 pm #

    well glad you enjoy! thanks for the words.

    in sound and servitude,

  2. James March 3, 2010 at 7:29 am #

    Excellent review. This audio clicks with my subconscious. Infinitely satisfying.

  3. Tomek March 12, 2010 at 4:20 am #

    I have found S&S on shoutcast directory long time ago. Since then it is my default choice when I get bored with everthing else. The strange thing is that I find this bizzare mixture less distracting at work than anything else. It also lets me discover various curiosities like Cambodian Rocks or strange forgotten movies. Great job and greetings from Poland.

  4. MrP February 16, 2011 at 10:50 pm #

    Way back in college, for a period of several weeks, my roommate and I found ourselves with two working turntables. Being impoverished students, one was sold in fairly short order, but I remember that during those few weeks we discovered the strangely compelling sonic aesthetic of playing two records at the same time. Tammy Wynette and Walter Carlos (later Wendy), Mahavishnu Orchestra and James Brown – you get the idea. It was a poor man’s exotica, but we found that the unlikely combinations created a sort of hidden attic on our ground floor student hovel. For awhile there we got away with some great rent.

    Overlapping or sequential, S&S’s playlist recreates that grander spaciousness for me. Thank you for flattering my twisted taste. I gratefully bow deeply, so that I may keep my ear to the rail that now runs all the way to China.

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