Daniel Johnston RIP

A brilliant mind and a troubled soul, Daniel Johnston passed away at the age of 58 at his home in Waller, Texas, on September 10th, 2019.. He was mostly referred to as a cult musician, but in fact he was an inspirational figure for many musicians, some of them more mainstream-bent than others, while he was also a significant part in the popularization of lo-fi music and cassette culture, and the epitome of what we now commonly call bedroom recordings.

Sadly parts of his brilliance were bipolar disorder, manic depression and schizophrenia, as the man spent much of his life medicated, in and out of mental health facilities.

Daniel Johnston left behind a massive body of work composed of excellent, extremely raw and extremely direct albums, most of them captured on tape, with the first six Songs of Pain (1981), Don't Be Scared (1982), The What of Whom (1982), More Songs of Pain (1983), Yip/Jump Music (1983) and the iconic Hi, How Are You (1983) being the most prominent ones for essential listening. He was also a great visual artist, as his drawings, paralleled to the music, had been equally organic, charmingly unrefined and beautiful.

The captivating 2005 film, The Devil and Daniel Johnston, by director Jeff Feuerzeig and produced by Henry S. Rosenthal, isn't only a fantastic chronicle of Johnston's life and struggles, but also one the best music documentaries ever put together, and it couldn't come more highly recommended.

In January 2018 we dedicated one of our Mixcloud shows to Daniel Johnston's magnificence, with a mix of tracks by Beach House, Teenage Fanclub, Television Personalities, Tom Waits and many more, which we revisit today.


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