Experimental musician

I don’t like to go three days without writing a blog post, but I also see no point in blogging for the sake of blogging, so I have to find something that interests me enough to want to write about it. Fortunately the Life & Culture section of WSJ.com is just the place to find such things.

Just take a look at the photograph at the top of this story about musician Sxip Shirey, and you’ll see why the headline calls him a “mad scientist.” (He does have a background in physics, by the way.) I am intrigued as much by his use of brightly colored toys as by the fact that he uses them to make music, conglomerating them into contraptions that allow him to be a one-man band.

I haven’t listened to his YouTube channel yet (I’ll try that tomorrow on a faster computer), but from what I’ve read I expect I’ll enjoy it. Not the same way I enjoy Bach’s Air on the G String or Toccata and Fugue, or singing Handel’s Messiah or Mozart’s Coronation Mass. But I do have fun playing around with toy instruments (years ago, I picked up a Fisher Price Crazy Combo Horn Set at a yard sale, which I think I had as much fun playing as my son did). And Sxip can do real music with his toys.

In fact, it makes me wonder what I could do with a bunch of toys. (I haven’t got the money for yuppie toy shops, but this time of year there are some great yard sales…) But as I’m much better at imagining how things might work together than actually making them work, I’ll probably stick to enjoying Mr. Shirey’s unique musical style.


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