Weekly obsession: Arthur Russell’s fragile art-disco genius
My obsession with arthur russell is still going on.
Ok, no worry. all obsessions i have last for not more than 2 to 3 weeks. This is second week (out of 3 i hope).
Getting to the point here.
It does feel wonderful to discover a new artist who’s work make us feel happier, see more alive (as it is for me when i discover a new artist’s who’s work can awake me somehow). The saddest is, when this genius has already passed by.
Arthur Russell is one of these genius who was here for a short but-so-fu***-creative and busy period. His work in dance music is still really actual, even dating from the 90’s, and i wouldn’t mind guessing about who tried to repeat or got highly influenced by his work (this is actually the fun part for me..).
from village voice:
Arthur Russell was the most maddening kind of genius: the kind who produces mountains of extraordinary work, and can barely ever actually finish it. A cellist, singer, songwriter, composer, and disco producer, he wanted to be a pop star, but he also wanted to be a hermetic avant-gardist. (…)
The deliberate imperfections of Russell’s art are its deepest hooks. He loved to use instruments (like his cello or Peter Zummo’s trombone) that aimed for notes and barely missed; his songs drift off course, or wander from one idea to another. Russell’s lyrics are about emotional awkwardness and overwhelmedness, human bodies being human in motion and in water and in beds. (“Show me what the girl does to the boy,” he sings shyly on Calling Out of Context, “if you can get around to it.”) The pleasures of these affectionate, blurry songs are physical pleasures, triggered by small motions—like a hand reaching around to touch the far side of the beloved’s face, or a tap on a cowbell—and triggering heartaches and sweat, in turn. The voices on his records can’t necessarily sing, but they can’t keep from singing.
from stylus mag:
(…) When Arthur Russell died, he left approximately 1000 tapes of music and 1000 pages of lyrics, in varying states of completion behind. Many of these tapes contained the same songs, completed in a variety of ways, allowing for the possibility of different endings.