Viking Of Sixth Avenue (Spkg)


aec.hojo18.2 7/8/08 New

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    Viking Of Sixth Avenue (Spkg) Honest Jon's

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Review Text Moondog, much like Sun Ra, was a notorious musical eccentric whose reputation almost certainly reached more ears than his music (the use of a Mr. Scruff remix in a commercial doesn't count). Also like Sun Ra, Moondog was a serious and idiosyncratic composer/musician who jumped from label to label and even resorted to self-releasing material back before there the D.I.Y. ethic was a movement. Viking of Sixth Avenue is the first compilation that spans more than one label, and therefore serves as probably the best introduction to Moondog's music that's out there. The music covers a lot of territory: from full orchestras to solo performances and from brief rhythmic percussion exercises to vocal rounds to swinging horns or dulcimers. Moondog was affected early on by Native American music when his father took him to an Arapaho Sun Dance, and this rhythmic pulse played a prominent role in his music. There are also a number of animal "tributes" ("Rabbit Hop," "Dog Trot," "Snaketime Rhythm"), including "Big Cat," which uses the sounds of a lion or tiger in the tune. He gets to the heart of the matter on "Enough About Human Rights!" where he inquires about the rights of other members of the animal kingdom. Some of the tracks feature his odd, homemade percussion, sometimes recorded on the streets of New York City with busses and traffic making their own contribution. "Lullaby (2 W 46th Street)" is very Asian sounding, while the first occurrence of "Oasis" could almost be mistaken for Sun Ra-style exotica. "Rabbit Hop" has some remarkably hip trap drums, while the second occurrence of "Oasis" wouldn't sound out of place in church. "Chaconne in G Major" is a beautiful piece for string trio and the concluding track, "Invocation," is simply majestic. The liner notes are quite informative about the life of Moondog, but a bit more annotation as to when the material was recorded and where it came from would have been helpful. Moondog is surely a major figure in avant-garde music, but it's some of the most listenable and even catchy avant-garde music you're likely to hear, and Viking of Sixth Avenue is probably the best place to start. ~ Sean Westergaard

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. Theme And Variations
  2. 2. Down Is Up
  3. 3. Bumbo
  4. 4. Big Cat
  5. 5. Oo Debut
  6. 6. Lament 1 "Bird's Lament"
  7. 7. Moondog's Symphony 1
  8. 8. Moondog's Symphony 2
  9. 9. Rabbit Hop
  10. 10. Rimshot
  11. 11. Snaketime Rhythm
  12. 12. Instrumental Round
  13. 13. Double Bass Duo
  14. 14. Why Spend The Dark Night With You
  15. 15. All Is Loneliness
  16. 16. Snaketime Rhythm
  17. 17. Dragon's Teeth
  18. 18. Oboe Round
  19. 19. Be A Hobo
  20. 20. Dog Trot
  21. 21. Oasis
  22. 22. Avenue Of The Americas
  23. 23. 2 W 46th Street
  24. 24. Lullaby
  25. 25. Fog On The Hudson
  26. 26. Utsu
  27. 27. On And Off The Beat
  28. 28. Chant
  29. 29. From One To Nine
  30. 30. Improvisation In 4:$
  31. 31. Enough About Human Rights!
  32. 32. Viking I
  33. 33. Rimshot
  34. 34. Chaconne In G Minor
  35. 35. Oasis
  36. 36. Invocation

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