Album: Moondog, More Moondog (Honest Jons)
Friday 20 March 2009
The blind street-musician Moondog was a gentle soul whose strange musical creations were admired by artists as diverse as Stravinsky, Steve Reich and Charlie Parker.
This anthology ignores his later orchestral works in favour of 30 earlier pieces, ranging from solo exercises on self-made instruments such as the percussive trimbas and the oo, a hammer-dulcimer of typically idiosyncratic tuning, to rounds played on organs or oboes, whose layered drone effects resemble a form of Arabic minimalism. "Ostrich Feathers Played on Drums" is just that, while "Hardshoe" and "Softshoe" are duets with tap-dancer Ray Malone. Being blind, Moondog was attuned to the music of the streets, with traffic noise adding to the elegantly syncopated horn arrangement of "Up Broadway", whilst misty ship's horns provided the inspiration for pieces like "Tugboat Toccata". Later, he would marry, move to Europe and dedicate himself to classical composition, but here Moondog's solitude is expressed in his aphoristic poetry, enigmatic wordplay similar to that of Sun Ra: "A burning star, turning in an orbit all of its own/ Such and such is I". Not so much a star as an entire universe.
Pick of the album: 'Up Broadway', 'Softshoe', 'Autumn', 'Moondog Monologue', 'Oboe Round'
Arts & Ents blogs
The 50 Best Christmas songs: Bells continue to ring for the Pogues' 'Fairytale of New York'
Sherlock series 3: Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman provide teasers for the biggest comeback in British television
Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke and Lady Gaga attacked by Noel Gallagher in 2013 music rant
Sir Elton John lashes out at Russia’s anti-gay laws in Moscow show
Doctor Who Christmas special 2013: New pictures released of Matt Smith's finale
- 1 Cameron's freebie to apartheid South Africa
- 2 Is this the scariest advert ever? Japanese tyre commercial comes with its own disclaimer and health warning
- 3 Sherlock series 3: Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman provide teasers for the biggest comeback in British television
- 4 A forgotten episode in Russian history leaves links with the Philippines
- 5 People will try to reduce Mandela to a lilting reggae tune about ‘love’. They will fail
- < Previous
- Next >