For nearly eight years Oonops is performing his (bi-)monthly vinyl show on Brooklyn Radio in New York. On the 21th March he dropped his 150th episode of "Oonops Drops" including exclusive guest mixes from around the globe like Skratch Bastid, Coldcut, Rich Medina, Kutiman, Morcheeba, J.Rawls, Fingathing, Guts, Supreme La Rock, DJ Kaos (The Artifacts), Fat Freddy's Drop, The Reflex, The Herbaliser, Hunger (Gagle), Scratch Perverts and many more. Link to the show and back archive: brooklynradio.com/oonops-drops
Time to celebrate this event with an exclusive 45-vinyl like at his 100th episode.
He invited artists from his show and network to join him for this multifarious single compilation. Starting on side A with Slick Walk (Merse & DJ Robert Smith) and Sneaky from Fingathing who conjure a heavy scratchy bassy version of Moondog's legendary song "Bird's Lament". On the flip DJ and beatproducer Avantgarde Vak from South Korea drops a cool oldschool instrumental track named "Keep Ya Eyes Up" before Toshiyuki Sasaki from Japanese Jazz Trio Nautilus is ending this 45 with four precise drum breaks for all beatjugglers out there.
And here is little story which Sneaky has to tell you about their version of "Bird's Lament":
"Once you label me you negate me"
Music that is difficult to label no doubt excites the curious mind, and the music of Moondog could well be labelled as such… we can but scratch the surface. So scratch we shall.
Often referred to as the Viking of the Sixth due to his style and location in NYC as a street musician in the 50s and 60s Louis Thomas Hardin aka Moondog made his own percussion instruments. He conjured music that mixed elements of modern classical with jazz and folk always inbuing a certain childlike innocence and simplicity.
"Bird's Lament" his tribute to Charlie "Bird" Parker and possibly his most known work has seen several versions and interpretations since it's release on his self titled fifth studio album in 1969. Notably for me in the mid nineties I had his work thrust before me when I was asked by fellow Mancunian Andy Carthy aka Mr Scruff to add some bass to a track based around the sampling of said track. "Get a move on" helped spread the Moondog spirit to the club dancefloors and beyond. Since then I have been hooked by his music, an appreciation that continues to grow with every deeper dig and recontextualised listen.
Over the last few years I have fallen back in love with my old cello which for a long time took second place in my heart to my bass. In these turbulent times of uncertainty I have taken to the streets of Berlin with my cello (which I named Vida) unconsciously channeling the spirit of Moondog's New York street musician lifestyle in search of my own voice. Having learnt from a Berlin luthier that my cello is over 130 yrs old and German in origin I started to imagine her coming into contact with Moondog at some point in his life, unlikely but possible! An idea that ignites a fire of inspiration in me. Connections are always there if we look hard enough in the right places right?
After playing the Bird's Lament melodies over and over on my cello for many years I started jamming it together with my talented berlin flatmate Ric Strakow aka DJ Robert Smith. He brought a killer beat idea to the table and we started incorporating it into a set we were developing… locking into the funky swung rhythmic phrasing patterns it blossomed so we decided to record and produce it together with the help of Smith's Slick Walk production partner Stefan 'Merse' Ulrich (Jazzanova).
So, here is the next stage in Moondog's evolution as an influencer.
Slowed and skewed for the head nod b-boys and b-girls made with love for the man and his art.
Sometimes you need a blind gentle giant to show you the way…
"Voices of Spring were in chorus. Each voice was singing a song. I could not sing in that chorus until I wrote me a song. I wrote me a song and joined the throng."
Louis Thomas Hardin