December 10, 2008
So many artists find more recognition poshumously than they do during their lifetimes. Arthur Russell is one of the more recent additions to this list. A member of New York’s downtown dance and disco scenes in the mid-70s and 80s, Russell was a pioneer in the realms of ambient electronic music and minimal disco. Relatively obscure in his lifetime, Russell collaborated with the likes of David Byrne and Philip Glass before dying of AIDS in 1992. Without his contributions to electronic and dance music, current artists like Erlend Øye, the Rapture and LCD Soundsystem wouldn’t experience nearly the success they enjoy today.
With the recent release of Love Is Overtaking Me, a compilation of unreleased folk and country tracks and the recent biopic Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell, Russell’s profile has risen significantly as of late. But it’s his earlier work that is most compelling to me. A great introduction to Arthur Russell is Calling Out of Context, a collection of some of Russell’s best dance tracks. Amazing song below, his voice is so subtle, yet piercing:
“That’s Us/Wild Combination”