Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Arthur Russell

Occasionally.. well, more like semi-frequently, a song comes along and I obsess over it, play it on a constant rotation, analyze its structure, dissect its lyrics etc etc. Most recently this has happened to me with the Arthur Russell song 'A Little Lost'.

Subject of the recent documentary film 'Wild Combination', Russell was an avant-garde cellist and composer who was relatively unknown during his lifetime, but thanks to a series of reissues in recent years, his vast and varied catalog of work has found many fans.

After moving to San Fransisco at the age of 18, Russell met Allen Ginsberg, with whom he began to accompany at poetry readings, playing cello while Ginsberg read. In the early seventies Russell moved to New York where he became heavily involved in the avant-garde scene. As the decade progressed Russell became heavily involved in New York's nascent underground disco scene, he would go on to write and produce a number of influential and experimental disco (and later dance) records.

During the eighties Russell worked with a number of music's more esoteric luminaries, including Phillip Glass, Robert Wilson and Gavin Bryars. Russell died of AIDS on April 4, 1992, at the age of 40.

After a string of releases taken from Russell's vast archive of previously unreleased music, Rough Trade last year released 'Love Is Overtaking Me', a record that showcases the artists singer-songwriter side, collecting the best of his previously unreleased folk, pop, and country influenced work. This is the place I would recommend readers of this blog to start.

MP3: Arthur Russell - A Little Lost
MP3: Arthur Russell - Nobody Wants A Lonely Heart

Arthur Russell on Myspace
Support The Artist. Buy.Buy.Buy.

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