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18 Mar 2017

Moondog “Moondog In Europe” 1977 US Classical Avant-garde,Minimal

Moondog “Moondog In Europe” 1977 US Classical  Avant-garde,Minimal
Originally released by Kopf in 1977, and reissued in 1999, Moondog In Europe was visionary composer Louis Thomas Hardin's aka Moondog first release after moving to Germany. Perhaps reflecting the historicity of his new environment, this album is more structured and formal than most of his previous releases; however, his layered song-cycles are just as circular and experimental, and still backed by a fair amount of tribal percussion. There are moments of whimsy, as on "In Vienna," with its bouncing, music-box like celesta, or on "Viking I," also reflected with a snappy celesta melody, but there are also moments of parlor-room somberness, as on the string arrangements for "Romance In G" or the last 20+ minutes of the album, which is comprised exclusively of extremely heavy pipe-organ suites. Moondog In Europe, though less playful than other of his albums, displays Moondog's virtuosity as a classical composer, with elegantly stylized pieces that see Moondog embracing a grandiosity he hadn't approached previously. 

Highly Recommended!.................

In 1974, Louis Hardin "MOONDOG" is invited to give a performance in Germany ... His first steps in Germanic land are a revelation, to walk in the footsteps of the great old classics makes him feel "at home". So our comrade Viking stays for a few months in the streets of Hamburg. During his wanderings, he meets Ilona sommer, who will become his muse and assistant, she will take him to live in the Rühr within his family. It is also at this time that he will meet Stefan Lakatos, to whom he will transmit his art of percussion as well as the ability to build them. In short, a whole new life, more pleasant and easy. It is not an evil because MOONDOG, Despite its robust constitution, also ages.

The evolution is constant in the music of MOONDOG, it is thus a strange atmosphere that emerges from the introductory "Viking 1", a quasi lullaby that seen its title foreshadowed something more epic. Now, finally, is not this melody in keeping with our viking of the sixth street? Calm, balanced, balanced and ultimately facetious? Even if one recognizes the paw, the percussions are however reduced to their simplest expression. Besides, "In vienna" continues on the same operative mode, and makes one think of a music of romantic merry-go-round - Viennois indeed. The sound of celestia reinforces this almost childish and positive idea. On the "Chaconne in C", MOONDOG remains in this atmosphere full of innocence, but misty and ethereal. It is already the great organs that are at work.

The "Romance in G" plunges us delightfully into the meanderings of the thought of the baroque composer Louis Hardin. She shows an exquisite sensitivity, and aligns without difficulty with the great works of her elders of the 18th century. The surprising "Heimdall fanfare" is a title of great originality, a canon of 9 horns, you will not hear much of this kind. I remind you that Heimdall was the guardian of the Rainbow Bridge, the gateway to Asgard, a city of the Nordic Gods, and sounded the alarm with a horn that sounded like a hundred. The set is certainly a bit repetitive, but does not lack power.

Then attack the set of "Logrundr", played on a large cathedral organ. The themes are often slow and majestic. So it is with the magnus opus of this album, I named "Logrundr XII", which imposes in spite of its disarming simplicity a formidable power of evocation. All the magic of MOONDOG is here still at work on this short piece with a resolutely Dantesque atmosphere. Personally, it should not happen a day without I hum this melody. Just phenomenal. The "Logrundr XIX", almost sepulchral, ​​works minimalist, but is marked by a pretty melody rather modern and I will call pop, is it so far from the BEATLES at the level harmony? More than 8 minutes of dream awake! "Logrundr IV" brings us closer to BACH - all proportions kept - and projects a troubling beauty. "Logrundr III" is almost perky and proposes the addition of percussion made in MOONDOG. "Logrundr VII", almost dissonant, and very remarkable blow. The incomprehensible approach to such an instrument can only surprise the listener. It becomes hypnotic and occupies a status apart. Highly recommendable.

We continue in surprise the discovery of the work of MOONDOG. Each opus is very distinct in discography. This one is one of the most "shut-up", due to the high number of pieces for organ. This is not for everyone, but the quality remains, especially since the artist's European rebound is not a whim. As usual with our viking, the approach is in the long term. Moreover, the days of the Viking habit are now counted, Ilona manages to gradually change its dress habits, especially since the traumatic revelation that the Vikings did not wear helmets carried ...

A mostly self-taught composer, Louis Hardin was born in Marysville, KS on May 26, 1916. The family eventually moved to Wyoming, where his father, who had been an Episcopalian minister, opened a trading post at Fort Bridger, and had two different ranches. Young Hardin went to school in a log cabin in Burnt Fork, WY, and fished, hunted, and trapped. Later, he rode a horse to school in Long Tree, a cattle community. He wrote that his first drum set " the age of five, was a cardboard box". He also went with his father to an Arapho Sun Dance, where he sat on Chief Yellow Calf's lap and played the buffalo skin tom-tom. Later, in 1949, he played tom-tom and flute at a Sun Dance held by the Blackfoot in Idaho. The constant "tom-tom" beat became incorporated in many of his later pieces, such as the complex canon for marimbas "Wind River Powwow: Arapa-Host, Arapa-Home, Arapa-Hope." He played drums in Hurley High School in 1929, and he lost his sight in his early teens when a dynamite cap exploded. He studied music and finished high school at the Iowa School for the Blind, and in 1933, studied braille at the Missouri School for the Blind in St. Louis. "I write all my music in braille. When I write for orchestra, I do not write scores any more, but just write out parts, for the score is in my head and just writing out the parts cuts the time and cost in half ... anyhow, if my pieces were ever in demand, a score to each could be made from the parts. I call this process 'intracting', as opposed to the opposite, having a score and 'extracting' parts from it. From the braille I dictate every slur, tie, expression mark." It is then written in pencil by another person, read back and corrected, then inked in by another person - " .. double trouble". Hardin lived in Batesville, AR until 1942 when he got a scholarship to study in Memphis. However, he mostly taught himself ear training and other musical skills, and theory from books in braille. In the fall of 1943, he came to New York and met Artur Rodzinski, Leonard Bernstein, and then Toscanini. In a legendary story, Hardin made to kiss Toscanini's hand " ... whereupon he pulled it away, saying, 'I am not a beautiful woman'". Hardin began using the name Moondog as a pen name in 1947 in honor of a dog "who used to howl at the moon more than any dog I knew of." His music, constructed of direct musical gestures and built mostly from pure modal themes expanded by sophisticated contrapuntal techniques, would now receive the avant-garde label of "minimal" or pattern music, but this sound has characterized his music since the late '40s, and is thus a precursor of that postmodern compositional style. In New York, Moondog began to meet legendary jazz performer-composers, such as Charlie Parker and Benny Goodman, and to incorporate jazz inflections, as well as humorous philosophical couplets and environmental sounds into his recorded compositions -- the early recordings on the Prestige label in 1956 - 1957 contain brief pieces such as "Up Broadway/The impressions of Moondog as He Passes Birdland and the Palladium up the Great White Way ... (a) Broadway and 52nd St., the Jazz Corner of the World. A dog Trot in 1/4 Time ... (b) Broadway and 53rd St, the Afro-Cuban Corner of the World -- A Bumbo in 4/4 time ...," and a duet for the whistle of the ocean liner the Queen Elizabeth and a bamboo flute. Moondog also sold his printed music and records, and performed on the streets of Manhattan. His music truly expressed a universal vision with the best of American musical sensibilities. Moondog passed away on September 8, 1999 in Germany at the age of 83. ("Blue" Gene Tyranny).................

Moondog’s first release after moving to Germany, “Moondog in Europe” is a very heavy listen. While there are some aspects of his quirky style, most of this album is drenched in seriousness. Despite this being his first slightly somber album though, Moondog cleverly inserts various rounds from “Moondog 2.” Like Roger Waters taking portions of melody and hooks from “The Wall” and incorporating them into his “The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking,” Moondog similarly borrows his own melodies, changing them just enough to make something vaguely recognizable… almost forcing you to listen again, wondering where you have heard the song before. But while “Moondog 2” possessed a whimsical, wandering bard feel, much of “Moondog in Europe” has an off-putting aura, bringing images of a mad organist with spiky gray hair, playing to give the voices in his head some background music.

The album’s A side opens with the curious “Viking I” sounding like a music box and apparently commemorating the 1976 Viking mission to Mars. The melody is similar in the theme to “The Nutcracker,” but slightly less effective. Moondog’s celesta playing is charming in its way though, too delicate to completely dismiss. Heavy pounding percussion opens the nearly five-minute “Chaconne In G,” plowing the way for bouncy violins and cellos to take us down a familiar road. The melody is lifted from “Sparrow” off of his previous album, but here the song is given more room to breathe and develop. I still prefer the earlier, condescend version, but the mood remains whimsical, even in this more classical rendering.

Moondog uses a much more authoritative approach on “Heimdall Fanfare.” The marching beat and forceful horns push this atmospheric piece forward, sounding every bit like an ancient army on their way to battle: heroic, determined, and ultimately impressive. Far less indomitable, “Romance in G” is a hollowing lover’s cry. It is too long, but the track is overflowing with opera-like emotion my uncultured mind will probably never be able to fully appreciate. “In Vienna” changes pace again. This piece is short and has a distinct circus feel…all childlike and innocent. Imagining Moondog in his Viking outfit conducting this track for some reason disturbs me, the same way that clowns always do. It is just so dissonantly freak-show-happy that it is creepy. The first side closes with “Chaconne C,” a far slower version of “Chaconne in G,” adding a carnival organ backdrop and distancing itself so far from “Sparrow” it is difficult to even hear any parallels. This version is the most daunting and least accessible, but is still worth a few listens just to hear the makeover.

Side A could probably have been anticipated. Yes, it is an alteration in sound, but it isn’t so far removed from Moondog’s other work that it catches you off guard. Side B however, has nothing like it in Moondog’s catalog. Made up of six, mostly ominous pipe organ tracks lasting over twenty minutes, this is darker and far more eerie than anything Moondog had yet released. You can’t exactly call the song suite great, but most of it is spooky enough to play at Halloween. In fact, I can’t really think of another suitable time to play it: it is too Frankensteinish to play during dinner, and just too murky to play for relaxing.

“Logrundr III” is easily the happiest of the six, but also the least notable. “Logrundr XII,” “XIII,” and “IV” are far more church sounding, adding with their grave tone, more sophistication. “Logrundr VII” is the creepiest. Its haunting, tiptoeing melody really freaks me out in a bearded lady, Quasimodo, Elephant Man, side show way. The most impressive portion is probably the closing “Logrundr XIX.” It is an eight and a half minute remake of the regal “Pastoral” from Moondog’s previous album. This version almost sucks the elegance out of the tune, but it is still able to maintain the gorgeous melody, even if it is wrapped in a sinister atmosphere.

“Moondog in Europe” is definitely not the place to start. On the surface, it is too boring and lacks the true playfulness and catchiness of his previous two albums. You should not dismiss the album completely though. The mood is mysterious and psycho and after repeated listens, the tone begins to grow on you. For me, it is Moondog's least accessible album from the second stage of his career, but still a worthy purchase if you enjoy Moondog's more classical style. ...............

Moondog was the pseudonym of Louis Thomas Hardin (May 26, 1916 – September 8, 1999), a blind American composer, musician, cosmologist, poet, and inventor of several musical instruments. Although these achievements would have been considered extraordinary for any blind person, Moondog further removed himself from society through his decision to make his home on the streets of New York for approximately twenty of the thirty years he spent in the city. Only in the final decades of Moondog's life did the public begin to appreciate the extent of this man's talents, primarily because of his stubborn refusal to wear anything other that his own home-made clothes, all based on his own (sometimes too singular) interpretation of the Norse god Thor. Indeed, he was known for much of his life as 'The Viking of 6th Avenue'. WHICH WAS ONE OF MY MAIN HANGOUTS

Early life
Born in Marysville, Kansas, he started playing a set of drums that he made himself from a cardboard box at the age of five. Hardin was blinded in a farm accident at the age of 16. After learning the principles of music in several schools for blind young men across middle America, he taught himself the skills of ear training and composition. Principally self-taught, he studied with Burnet Tuthill and at the Iowa School for the Blind. He had a particular interest in Native American music.

Street musician
From the late 1940s until 1974, Moondog lived as a street musician and poet in New York City, busking mostly on 53rd Street and 6th Avenue in Manhattan. In addition to his music and poetry, he was also known for the distinctive Viking garb that he wore, which included a horned helmet. He partially supported himself by selling copies of his poetry and his musical philosophy. Because of his street post's proximity to the famed 52nd Street nightclub strip, he was well-known to many jazz musicians and fans.

In the 1960s Moondog was a regular fixture of downtown Manhattan with his outstanding flamboyant costume and presentation. My grandmother and I passed Moondog while we went to and from Manhattan to pick up my grandfather at the end of his work day. As Moondog worked numerous corners busking. for the unsuspecting. traveler or tourist, he was one of the characters that made Old New York the un-homogenized creative artistic place it once was.

Where often that Old New York City was characterized as crime ridden, pockmarked by peepshows and gin joints that did not conform to new improved corporate version of Times Square and a downtown gentrified of its working class communities. Where New York City has become new and improved like Los Vegas and all too many other American towns and cities it has lost its soul to give way to profits and exploitation that has made America the fraud it has become for the rich, by the rich, one nation under the rich.

Moondog's work was early championed by Artur Rodzinski, the conductor of New York Philharmonic in the '40s. He released a number of 78s, 45s and EPs of his music in the 1950s, as well as several LPs on a number of notable jazz labels, including an unusual record of stories for children with actress Julie Andrews in 1957. For ten years no new recordings were heard from Moondog until producer James William Guercio took him into the studio to record an album for Columbia Records in 1969. The track "Stamping Ground", with its odd preamble of Moondog saying one of his epigrams[1], was featured on the sampler double album Fill Your Head with Rock (CBS, 1970). The melody from the track "Bird's Lament (In memory of Charlie Parker)" was later sampled by Mr. Scruff as the basis for his song "Get a Move On", which was then used in commercials for the Lincoln Navigator SUV.

A second album produced with Guercio featured Moondog's daughter as a vocalist and contained song compositions in canons and rounds. The album did not make as large an impression in popular music as the first had. The two CBS albums were re-released as a single CD in 1989.
The English pop group Prefab Sprout included the song 'Moondog' on their seminal album Jordan: The Comeback released in 1990 as a tribute to Hardin.

In a search for new sounds, Moondog also invented several musical instruments, including a small triangular-shaped harp known as the "Oo", another which he named the "Ooo-ya-tsu", and (perhaps his most well-known) the "Trimba", a triangular percussion instrument that the composer invented in the late 40s. The original Trimba is still played today by Moondog's friend Stefan Lakatos, a Swedish percussionist, to whom Moondog also explained the methods for building such an instrument.

Moondog had an idealised view of Germany ("The Holy Land with the Holy River" — the Rhine), where he settled in 1974. A young German student named Ilona Goebel hosted him, first in Oer-Erkenschwick, and later on in Münster in Westphalia, Germany, where he spent the remainder of his life.
Moondog visited America briefly in 1989, for a tribute in which Phillip Glass himself asked him to conduct the Brooklyn Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, at the New Music America Festival in Brooklyn, stimulating a renewed interest in his music.
He recorded many albums, and toured both in the US and in Europe — France, Germany and Sweden. 

Side A:
01. Viking I (3:00)
02. Chaconne in G (4:50)
03. Heimdall Fanfare (3:10)
04. Romance In G (5:20)
05. In Vienna (2:10)
Side B:
06. C Chaconne (2:57)
07. Lögründr III (1:15)
08. Lögründr XII (2:23)
09. Lögründr XIII (2:12)
10. Lögründr IV (5:00)
11. Lögründr VII (2:05)
12. Lögründr XIX (8:22)

Early recordings
"Snaketimes Rhythm" 1949-1950 SMC
"Moondog's Symphony" 1949-1950 SMC
"Organ Rounds" 1949-1950 SMC
"Oboe Rounds" 1949-1950 SMC
"Surf Session" c. 1953 SMC
"Caribea Sextet"/"Oo Debut" 1956 Moondog Records

Moondog On The Streets Of New York 1953 Decca/Mars
Moondog And His Honking Geese 1955 Moondog Records

Improvisations At A Jazz Concert 1953 Brunswick
Moondog And His Friends 1953 Epic (reissued as Jazztime USA vol. 2 in 1955 on the Brunswick label, reissued 2006 on Moondog's Corner label)
Moondog 1956 Prestige
More Moondog 1956 Prestige
The Story Of Moondog 1957 Prestige
Tell It Again (with Julie Andrews) 1957 Angel/Capital

Tracks on compilations
New York 19 (edited by Tony Schwarz) 1954 Folkways
Music in the Streets (edited by Tony Schwarz) 1954 Folkways

Later recordings

'"Stamping Ground Theme" (from the Holland Pop Festival) 1970 CBS

Moondog (not the same as the 1956 LP) 1969 Columbia
Moondog II 1971 Columbia
Moondog In Europe 1977 Kopf
Moondog - Selected Works 1978 Musical Heritage Society
H'Art Songs 1978 Kopf
A New Sound Of An Old Instrument 1979 Kopf
Bracelli 1986 Kakaphone

Facets 1981 Managarm

Elpmas 1992 Kopf
Moondog + Moondog II 1992 Columbia
Big Band 1995 Trimba
Alphorn Of Plenty 1995 Hat Art
To A Grain Of Rice 1996 Paradise Records
Sax Pax For A Sax with the London Saxophonic (1997) Kopf / Atlantic
Moondog Vol. 1 & 2 2000 Beat Goes On
The German Years 1977-1999 2004 ROOF Music
Un hommage a moondog 2005 trAce label
Bracelli und Moondog 2005 Laska Records
Rare Material 2006 ROOF Music
Tracks on compilations
Fill Your Head With Rock 1970 CBS
The Big Lebowski motion picture soundtrack 1998 Mercury
Fsuk Vol. 3: The Future Sound of the United Kingdom 1998 Fsuk
Miniatures 2 2000 Cherry Red
DJ Kicks 2006 Henrik Schwarz K7 Records
Moondog's music performed by other musicians
Moondog and Suncat Suite (1957) by British Jazz musician Kenny Graham, featuring one side of interpretations of the work of Moondog.
"All Is Loneliness" by Big Brother and the Holding Company, featuring Janis Joplin (1967)
Canons on the Keys by Paul Jordan, 1978 (unreleased)
"Theme and Variations" performed by John Fahey on the album Rain Forests, Oceans, and Other Themes (1985) [1]
"Crescent Moon March" covered as "For You Blue" by Laibach on Let It Be, 1988
Lovechild Plays Moondog 7" on Forced Exposure (1990)
"Synchrony Nr. 2" by Kronos Quartet (1997)
Trees Against The Sky compilation album 1998 SHI-RA-Nui 360°
"All Is Loneliness" by Antony and the Johnsons, live (2005)
"Sidewalk Dances" - Joanna MacGregor (2005) Sound Circus SC010
"Moondog Sharp Harp" - Xenia Narati (2006) Ars Musici 1404-2
"Bird's Lament (In Memory of Charlie Parker)" was sampled and used extensively on the song "Get a Move On" by the DJ Mr Scruff. 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..





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