As the excellent liner notes in this fantastic 36-track compilation point out, the only other American musicians that Moondog can be realistically compared to would be Harry Partch and Sun Ra. All three created their own cosmological realities, all three rebuked the limitations of "style" and "form," all three were prone to creating their own instruments and, most importantly, all three were largely reviled by the middlebrow establishment. Yes, Moondog would dress like a Viking and wander the streets of New York (after signing his contract with Columbia Records, he simply moved his operation to the sidewalk in front of the building), but he was also admired by everyone from Stravinsky to Philip Glass. His percussive, circular compositions incorporated Native American rhythms, jazz-tinged melodies, early-music intonations and a raft of homemade instruments. This disc is the first comprehensive look at Moondog's work, compiling pieces recorded for nine different labels over the course of 45 years, and the collective impact is impressive. In the same way that Moondog's individual works are tiny, self-referential universes, so were each of his many albums over the years capable of inducing a sort of rhythmic hypnosis. By spanning his different compositional approaches, this disc emerges as a multipart symphony of sound and innovation.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.