Jeff Moody

Sxip Shirey’s Audio Tour Of New York City

By - Sep 1st, 2010 10:06 am
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Amanda Palmer is a favorite artist/musician/human of mine, and her musical recommendations are always worth checking into. Earlier this summer, Ms. Palmer posted a link to Sxip Shirey’s (pronounced “Skip”) website, which was all design-dolled up for the release of Sonic New York, a project he’d been working on for some time, one that was at least partially funded by donors at I’d written a post-it note to myself about it, and then forgot about it in the flood of summer activities.

A week or so ago, I found the note on my art table. It was just under the spot on the wall where I’d stuck it in a rush. It was lying there like a fallen leaf.

Sonic New York was easy to find on iTunes, ($9.99 – CHEEP) and so it went straight to my iPhone. Listening to this on headphones is rewarding — Shirey makes music using just about anything that happens to be lying around, but his primary weapon of choice appears to be the harmonica, which drives the opener “I Live In New York City.” The track honks and struts with the sort of grimy patina you may have heard on Tom Waits’ excellent elpee “The Black Rider.”

Next you find yerself in Grammercy Park, floating along on its synth-phonic breezes for just a minute or so. The entire elpee works on the senses in this way, leading the listener from place to place with music as big and diverse as New York City itself. I found myself pretending the elpee was a sort of musical podcast tour of NYC’s streets and boroughs, imagining myself walking through places I’d only seen in movies, or had never been at all. Sonic New York was my escape hatch from reality all last week.

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