I got a phone-in request this morning… some sort of Bob Dylan song, which I (of course) did not have along with me. Then an Emmylou Harris song, as a replacement for the first. “I do an experimental show,” I said. “That’s not really the sort of music I bring with me.”
I could hear a little disappointment on the caller’s end of the line. People do seem to enjoy the trick of hearing their favorite song pop out of the radio box, especially an old favorite. People who have never been on this side of the microphone seem to believe that DJs are capable of playing nearly any imaginable song at a moment’s notice as well– and I suppose I could, technically, by pulling up YouTube on the studio computer.
But isn’t good radio more than just being a concierge version of YouTube? Easily available music is all around us. YouTube and iTunes are a click away, as are thousands of genre-specific streaming stations, and 24-hour a day music channels on cable television. The days of radio being the only game in town are long past.
That’s why I offered my caller a different sort of solution to her request. “How are you feeling right now?” I asked. She said that she felt like there was just too much dirt in her life right now, and was on an early-morning cleaning spree. I told her that I’d make her a nice soundtrack for cleaning, and encouraged her to call back in when everything was tidied up.
Sure beats YouTube!
Peter Gordon — Life Is Boring (from “Star Jaws,” on Lovely Music)
Gustavo Aguilar — The River (from “Looking for Aztlan,” on Acoustic Levitation)
John Morton — Amazing Grace Variations (from “Solo Traveler,” on Innova)
The Holly Martins — Stairway to the Mezzanine (from “No. No. Yes. No.” on Edgetone)
Negativland — Style (from “Crosley Bendix Radio Reviews,” on Seeland)
Glenn Weyant — Natural Electronics (from “In the DNA” on Sonic Anta)
Edward Ruchalski — Truro (from “Radio Journal,” self-release)
Edward Ruchalski — Ghost Harm
Jesse Paul Miller — The Flower’s Dream (self-release, from album of the same name)
Vapaa — Nåky Alas (from “Hum Hum Hum” on Last Visible Dog)
Vapaa — Ajan Odotus
Blue Sausage Infant — Locust of Control (from “Flight of the Solstice Queens,” on Zeromoon)
Tzii — Something (this, and next 2, from “Brussels Tape Run,” on Staaltape)
Ripit — 8 Brickwall
Ayemeric De Tapol — Schaarreek Double Speed
Merzbow — Bamboo Honey (this, and next, from “Deprogramming Music” on Sacred)
Ashrae Fax — Pan Pursuing Syrinx
The Frogs — Gwendolyn Macrae (from “My Daughter The Broad,” on Matador)