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Moondog | RSD2017


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$45.00 SGD
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A TAV Essential Listening Album.

He was born Louis Hardin, but the world knew him as Moondog—and his avant-garde compositions influenced a generation of minimalist composers like Philip Glass and Steve Reich. Now, Moondog, The Viking of 6th Avenue’s seminal 1969 album recorded with producer James William Guercio, will be reissued on white vinyl, its first pressing in over a decade. Featuring original symphonic and classically-inspired works (including material dedicated to Charlie Parker and Benny Goodman), Moondog is an album that must be heard to be believed. – Press Release

“Moondog, would feature compositions Moondog had been constructing for more than a decade, including two canons, two "minisyms" (short symphonic-styled pieces for miniature orchestras), three symphonic works, a chaconne memorializing the legendary saxophonist Charlie Parker (“Bird’s Lament”), and ballet music written with modern dance pioneer Martha Graham in mind ("Witch of Endor"). The collection would come to be known as a singular entry in the catalog of Third Stream music and possibly Moondog’s finest hour.

The music here could be described as minimalist; however, with its composer taking cues from the shrill car horns and rumbling subways of the Big Apple, it is by no means lacking power. Not unlike Borges and his fiction, Moondog encapsulates in six minutes or less the intrigue and magnificence of a larger-than-life symphony. The whirling “Minisym #1” bursts at the seams with menace and drive despite its stunted runtime, and the melodies woven throughout “Symphonique #3 (Ode to Venus)” boast a poignancy that could rival Elgar’s famed Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85. Jazz elements are just as prevalent and at their most in apparent in pieces like “Symphonique #6”, where clarinets croon with big band flair in apt tribute to the “King of Swing” himself.

Moondog’s disdain for convention and his knack for genre fusion are intoxicating, but the album’s standout is his flawless integration of unusual percussion and odd meter, or what he called snaketime, into his distinct amalgam of modern classical elements and jazz leanings. Instruments of Moondog’s own design punctuate the record’s introductory “Theme” with peculiar rhythms before seguing into the equally serpentine snare and timpani work of “Stamping Ground”. It’s a fitting opening statement for a man who would “not die in 4/4 time”.

Quirks notwithstanding, this collection is arguably less "experimental" than some of Moondog's other works. The music is surprisingly accessible given its origins, yet its ambitiousness and creativity is none the worse for wear. The Viking may have been blind, but his vision was crystalline. Moondog is a career highlight of an unlikely hero, who amidst the clatter of a busy street corner forged a path all his own. For someone who had the stones to criticize J.S. Bach for his counterpoint “mistakes”, it must have seemed like the only way to go.” – Sputnik Music


  1. "Theme" – 2:34
  2. "Stamping Ground" – 2:36
  3. "Symphonique #3 (Ode to Venus)" – 5:48
  4. "Symphonique #6 (Good for Goodie)" – 2:44
  5. "Minisym #1: i - Allegro, ii - Andante Adagio, iii - Vivace" – 5:42
  6. "Lament 1 (Bird's Lament)" – 1:41
  7. "Witch of Endor: i - Dance, ii - Trio: (a) Adagio (The Prophecy), (b) - Andante (The Battle), (c) - Agitato (Saul's Death'), iii - Dance (reprise)" – 6:27
  8. "Symphonique #1 (Portrait of a Monarch)" – 2:34

Item description:        






Columbia Masterworks | Caribou Records | Legacy


Vinyl, LP, Album, Reissue, White 



Release Date:

22 Apr 2017


Jazz, Classical


Big Band, Contemporary

Catalog No:

MS 7335 | 88985403691