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'
There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turningTV
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Rihanna 'nude photos' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 2 Frank Lampard equalises for Manchester City against Chelsea: how Twitter reacted
- 3 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 4 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned PR disaster
- 5 Britain First picture: Photographer 'horrified' after first Afghan policewoman killed by Taliban used for 'ban the burka' campaign
Downton Abbey series 5, episode 1, review: Revolution still seems far off
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written
Friends 20th anniversary: The highs and lows of the cast's careers since TV series ended in 2004
Downton Abbey series 5, episode 1, ITV, review: There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turning
Best movies on Netflix UK and US: 32 films that will end your endless scrolling
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God