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ARTIST
TITLE
Elpmas
FORMAT
CD

LABEL
CATALOG #
KD 123314CD KD 123314CD
GENRE
RELEASE DATE
11/24/2009

2013 restock. Originally released in 1991, Moondog's Elpmas is a landmark late-period work by the legendary composer. After a prolonged period of silence while living in Germany, Louis Thomas Hardin (aka Moondog) returned to America in 1989 to partake in a highly-praised performance at the 10th New Music America Festival, sharing the program with John Zorn and Butch Morris. Although returning to his home in Oer-Erkenschwick, Germany shortly after the performance, the sudden attention and renewal of interest in his work prompted Moondog, then in his late-70s, to record new material. Elpmas is the stunning result of a revitalized legend still at the peak of his vitality and innovation. On Elpmas, Moondog uses a sampler for the very first time, complementing his compositions with field recordings, and explaining, "The sampler is ideal for my kind of music, which is mostly contrapuntal, specifically canonic." The percolating marimba patterns on opening track "Wind River Powow" recalls the type of pure, luscious tone-studies that once deemed Moondog "the founder of minimalism" by Philip Glass and Steve Reich, but Elpmas is a varied, thematic work, epic in scope and dedicated to the aboriginal peoples of the world. "Westward Ho!" is an 8-part canon depicting the western migration from Europe to the New World, and features guest musicians Götz Alsmann and Andi Toma (Mouse On Mars). "Suite Equestria" is the most energizing piece on the album, its intricate marimba pattern carried to epic heights by the incursion of a valiant male chorus. Elpmas also introduces Moondog's "Overtone Continuum," an ambitious compositional system in which a 4-part male chorus is overdubbed 12 times, resulting in the disorienting 144-voice experiment "The Message." The album ends with "Cosmic Meditation," a 24-minute expanse of hazy warmth and melancholic, Eno-esque ambience intended to suggest the rising and falling waves of the Siderial Sea. As Moondog concludes in the liner notes, "Its unworldly sound brings one close to the essence of things, to the 'peace that passeth all understanding.'"