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When the internationally acclaimed author Hari Kunzru first moved to New York he chose as his imaginary guide the blind composer and musician Moondog, aka, Louis Hardin. Dressed as a Viking, Moondog played his “snaketime” rhythms on the streets of New York for over three decades from 1943-74. With great lyrical intensity Kunzru recalls the strange soundscape of an unfamiliar place, and celebrates both the city and the musical genius of Moondog.
“The next day I take an MP3 player and I make the journey again, accompanied by Moondog’s early music, recordings from the forties and fifties . . . Sounds leak in and out the iPod’s ear buds, layering modern 6th Avenue onto city noise of sixty years ago. Archaeology.”
Twice Upon A Time: Listening to New York is a unique, multilayered digital experience combining a beautiful prose essay on the sounds of New York with the extraordinary music of Moondog and binaural recordings of the city itself. Twice Upon a Time gives readers the opportunity to experience New York through the eyes and ears of Hari Kunzru, one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists, and author of My Revolutions and Gods Without Men.
The full interactive version includes photographs of the city, movable text, and a soundtrack synched to the reading experience. The soundtrack, which is best listened to through headphones, includes binaural street sounds and a selection of early and rare Moondog recordings from the 1953 album, Moondog on the Streets of New York. This version is available through Atavist.com for your desktop and in the Atavist App for iOS and Android devices. Please note that the soundtrack is not compatible with Nexus 5.
"Twice Upon a Time is a kind of three-dimensional tone poem of city life. Using Moondog’s music as a soundtrack — he recorded more than a dozen albums over the years and was championed by musicians as diverse as Charlie Parker and Leonard Bernstein, Benny Goodman and Philip Glass — it recreates New York as a random pastiche of music, conversation, traffic noise, all adding up to its own ecstatic symphony." —David Ulin, Los Angeles Times
“A visionary e-book exploring the medium’s multimedia possibilities while offering meditations on the sounds of New York and the life and work of the late street composer Moondog. . . . An aural and visual immersion like no other, showing the dimensions that ‘books’ can explore onscreen that they can’t in print.” —Kirkus (starred review)