The story and art of Moondog née Louis Thomas Hardin, born in Kansas in 1916, embodies the radical possibilities in the exchange between a person and their environment. “The Viking of 6th Avenue,” just like the streets of the New York where he made his home in boxes, basements and borrowed crannies for three decades, was unexpected, anti-conformist, multicultural and modernist. Often cited as a predecessor to the minimalist movement by fellow New Yorkers Phillip Glass and Steve Reich, he astounded, and continues to inspire awe, by embracing his blindness and deeply rooted idiosyncrasies — composing vocals and song direction in Braille and creating his own instruments from scraps — with nearly unprecedented creative output. This is a man who was true to his inner creative and spiritual compass to the extent that he was entirely unemployable by the capitalist world. Not only is it remarkable that Moondog music is the work of one individual, but also that his songs still read as wildly inventive and inspiring today as they ever were, originating from one very beautiful mind more than six decades ago.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the release of Moondog and His Friends on Epic, and above is one of our favorite tracks. Godspeed, and to your own brain be true.

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