aus / from: Q 4 (2000)

Stuart Maconie


Moondog in Europe
Sax Pax For Sax
A New Sound Of An OId Instrument

He was a blind New York street musician who dressed as a Viking. Keep reading, please ...

Moondog who died last year, aged 83, was one of the 20th century's greatest musical curios: a formally trained composer fêted by everyone from Philip Glass to Elvis Costello.

1977's Moondog In Europe is a great primer: tuneful, haunting and often jaunty, though the latter half of the album, dominated by organ pieces juxtaposed with Moondog's quirky percussion, is less appealing. Indeed, the full collection of pieces for the organ ('78's A New Sound Of An Old Instrument) is arguably the least successful: the disarming naïveté of these dances seems ill-suited to church Organ. Elpmas (from '91) built largely on marimbas and chorus, is sweetly folksy and shows off his peculiarly American musical vocabulary, while '94's Sax Pax For Sax displays its creator's grounding in jazz.