Mellifluent Mondays: Moondog

March 17, 2008 at 9:06 pm (jazz, music, poetry)

In a world that allows American Idol to exist, let alone thrive, most people would consider it prudent to ignore the musical offerings of a blind man dressed up as a viking while he paraded his wares on the streets of New York City. In the case of Louis Thomas Hardin a.k.a. Moondog, they’d be mistaken in doing so.

If you read the wikipedia article you’ll discover Moondog to be an inventor, poet, critic, and naturally, a rugged and unique individualist. Finding jazz to be a nearly inaccessible genre of music for my taste, Moondog rounds out a niche between the near random patterns of jazz and the repetitive melodies of modern composition, a niche I can often enjoy. His compositions often remind me of the minimalistic work of Michael Nyman, or even the whimsy of Traverse Town, though there are a few pieces which remind me too much of beatnik or hippie culture which tend to decentralize compositions into “jams”. But these can be happily ignored considering pieces such as Lament I, Bird’s Lament:

I honestly think this piece is too upbeat to be a lament, but then I suppose it could be if one takes into account that it’s from a man known as ‘The Viking of 6th Avenue’, who dealt with the hustle and bustle of the streets on a day to day basis. Unfortunately there’s not much of a selection of Hardin’s music on youtube. However, there are a few live performances:

I think you’ll see what I mean by “jams” in this piece:

If you’re interested in listening to more of his music I’d suggest starting with Moondog’s self titled album. It’s certainly his most accessible work I’ve heard.

Next week: Clint Mansell

And later this week: a post which breaks up the posts with alliteration. Ugh.



  1. truth9 said,

    Ooh, now this I can totally groove to. Especially that last one.

    I must hear more!

  2. asfarasthoughtcanreach said,

    I can’t tell whether you’re sincere or not, Jon.

    This frightens me.

  3. truth9 said,

    Heh, I’m actually being sincere. I really liked these three pieces, and that third one in particular. Seriously, it’s very cool.

  4. asfarasthoughtcanreach said,

    Well, okay then. I feel both pleased and reassured that you could appreciate these pieces.

  5. riphoudouso said,

    Very cool. I have a unfostered love of types of jazz music, and this stuff really hits to the spot. I swear I’ve heard some of that music in various Bugs Bunny cartoons.

  6. asfarasthoughtcanreach said,

    Hmmm…I have my doubts whether Moondog’s music could be found in a Warner Bros. cartoon but I suppose it’s possible since they share some quirky qualities.

  7. Granada Doaba said,

    awesome! the viking of 5th avenue strikes again!

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