Sunday, October 26, 2008

Ellis Hears the Voice of Satan

For the counter-culture kids, the hipsters, the scenesters, the oh-so-cool of the world, Daniel Johnston is a name that comes with an almost mystical reverence. So it interesting to learn how someone like Warren Ellis came to know of his music as a gift of a tape from a friend in 94. I discovered Johnston about the same time through the Kids soundtrack and found my love for lo-fi music there. A compilation such as that soundtrack would turn most anyone on to the lo-fi scene as it ran through several Folk Implosion songs, one Sebadoh track (the producers must have had a fondness for Lou Barlow) and Slint's amazing "Good Morning Captain". But Johnston's tracks stood out for his childlike voice and simple melodies constructed from what sounded like just about anything he had on hand, including his hands. It resulted in the purchase of two of his albums that I listened to a lot throughout high school but generally pushed by the wayside as I got older. So it's nice to see him brought to wider attention again, particularly by a cultural genius like Ellis.