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This really is a treat, a re-issue of the incredibly rare debut LP from legendary blind outsider Moondog. Originally released back in 1956 on the musician's own Moondog Recordings imprint, this incredible album showcases the man at his way-out best, blending Eastern instruments and ethnic music with American exotica to come up with a sound which is impossible to categorise. A mostly self-taught musician, Moondog (real name Louis Thomas Hardin) performed in the streets of New York City for most of his life, developing a kind of outsider aesthetic that took in numerous stylistic strands and invented a few new ones along the way - something that is illustrated in vivid technicolour on this collection. Across these tracks Moondog performs both solo and in small ensembles, creating percussive pieces and more expansive compositions that take in all sorts of sprawling generic splinters. The first side focuses more on a beautifully aged exotica, most charmingly on 'Lullaby', a piece written for his then six-week old daughter June which features his Japanese wife Suzuko on vocals. Through a blaze of peculiar time signatures (all listed, for the more interested among you) and even more peculiar instrumentation, we eventually reach the second side which takes us into the real outer limits of Hardin's mind. This is where percussion begins to take hold and we're treated to a plethora of phenomenal explorations into experimental drumming, some of which is just too much to take in over one sitting. The cyclic patterns and hiccupping time signatures are so spannered and righteous they almost bring to mind Autechre or even SND, rendered by a Gamelan orchestra trapped in a closet with only bits of scrap metal and woodblocks for accompaniment. This really is quite an exquisite album and an essential addition to those of you constantly looking for those must-have albums that have somehow slipped through the wormhole of critical and public acceptance. "Snaketime Series" really is just about as good as it gets, and with a beautiful facsimile of the original screen-print sleeve art for the cover it's quite an object of desire all round. Marvellous stuff - Essential purchase.
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SNAKETIME SERIES BY MOONDOG (675660284)
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