Thursday, August 21, 2008

Moondog "The Viking of Sixth Avenue"

So yeah, Moondog. Before receiving this birthday present, all I knew about Moondog was that he was some New York homeless guy who dressed up as a Viking and released records. So I was rather expecting that this album would just be the recordings of some crazy guy banging tin cans together and shouting "Boxcar! Boxcar!" over and over. As people of taste and discernment you probably knew better, as I do now that I have listened to Moondog's record. It's all very musical and nothing like as crazy outsider nutter music as I had expected. Indeed, this does not really sound like outsider music at all, and it is not surprising to read in the sleevenotes that Moondog (not his real name) was a highly trained musician. In terms of what it all sounds like, it is all a bit polyrhythmic and layered, with many of the tracks suggesting at least some familiarity with Gamelan. I am not sure whether Moondog multitracks himself playing all the instruments (must read sleevenotes more carefully) or if he has collaborators; either way, it does all sound a bit like the kind of stuff Fursaxa and those other people who do the whole "sample yourself, then sample yourself playing over sample, repeat to infinity" thing, only without the slow build. So yeah, I recommend this highly. Favourite track is probably the one where he sings about rights other than human rights, but that might just be because it has vocals on it.

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