Saturday, 9/18/10

by musicclipoftheday

replay: a clip too good for just one day

Here’s Arthur Russell, the “seminal avant-garde composer, singer-songwriter, cellist, and disco producer” who died in 1992 at the age of 40 (of AIDS-related complications)  and is the subject of both a recent documentary, Wild Combination, and a new book, Hold On To Your Dreams: Arthur Russell and the Downtown Music Scene, 1973-1992.

Arthur Russell

“Get Around To It”


“You And Me Both”


“This Is How We Walk on the Moon”


“That’s Us/Wild Combination”

(Yeah, the fact that I’m posting four tracks by this guy shows how much his music, which I just encountered recently, has been getting under my skin.)

(Originally posted on 11/23/09.)



[Russell’s] various distinctions—folkie, art-music songwriter and improviser, dance-club maven—seem incoherent until you hear several of his records. When musicians get angry about being categorized by critics, I usually feel frustrated: readers, after all, want to know what the record sounds like. With Russell, I take the musicians’ angle. Just listen to it and you’ll understand.

—Ben Ratliff, “The Many Faces, and Grooves, of Arthur Russell,” New York Times, 2/29/04


For Arthur, there was no cachet to being eclectic. Rather, he played across genre because it would have required a colossal and entirely counterproductive effort on his part to stick to one sound. . . . Drifting into an ethereal, gravity-defying zone, Arthur had come to embody the interconnectivity of music.

—Tim Lawrence, Hold On To Your Dreams: Arthur Russell and the Downtown Music Scene, 1973-1992 (2009)