So here I am sitting at my desk at Ground Zero of Corporate Hell and thinking so myself, “Gosh this blows”. Sad but true. I mean, I do get work done but it also means that I have to consciously block out all the other bullshit going on around me and given my current mood with work lately, well, let’s just say it’s a real effort.
So Part One of today’s “Operation: Block Out Bullshit” program is the self-titled album by Moondog.
Oh, and for the record I mean this guy:
Not this guy.
Yes, there are two Moondogs.
I know, right?
While I’ll admit that they’re both equally weird, what with one carrying a bone and the other a spear, only the one has something resembling real musical merit.
And that Moondog is actually Louis Thomas Hardin (May 26, 1916 – September 8, 1999) – better known to some as “the Viking of 6th Avenue” – an American composer, musician, poet and inventor of several musical instruments. He was blind from the age of 16. In New York from the late 1940’s until he left in 1972, he could often be found on 6th Avenue between 52nd and 55th Street wearing a cloak and Viking-style helmet, sometimes busking or selling music, but often just standing silent and still.
Like I said: weird.
Moondog had released no music for twelve years since his 1957 album ‘The Story of Moondog‘. Finally, in 1969, producer James William Guercio invited him to record an album for Columbia Records. He blended classical, musique concrete, jazz, minimalism, and other genres in ways that would prove highly influential on future musicians.
This album is considered by some to be his Magnum Opus; the perfect testament to his brilliance. It compiles various music which he had been working on since the 1950’s. This included two “minisyms” (Moondog’s term for short symphonic-styled works performed by small orchestras); two canons; a chaconne in memory of Charlie Parker; ballet music originally written for Martha Graham (‘Witch of Endor‘); and three symphonic (or “symphonique”) works, one of which was dedicated to Benny Goodman and featured elements of swing. A version of one composition, ‘Theme‘, had previously been recorded for Epic Records in 1952.
It’s as good a way as anyway of coping with all this extraneous nonsense going on around me this morning.