Boomkat Product Review:
Pinch us; it's real! Audika unleash a vintage-fresh stash of tunes from Arthur Russell's archive, marking one of the most substantial, posthumous dispatches of his unreleased material to date.
At this point, Arthur should need little introduction - he's arguably among thee most important, yet neglected, American composer/song-writers of the 20th century - so we'll skip the skooling and run to the music. There are nine songs, of which five are actually alternate and previously unheard versions of much-loved classics, while the other four are completely unheard, and also plucked from his notoriously "unfinished" stockpile of some 1,000 tapes. Collected, they form a release that was originally shelved by Russell's label, Sleeping Bag Records, in 1985, partly due to a fall-out around his 'Wax The Van' 12". It's full of his uniquely slanted, mutant takes on hip hop, electro and disco with that inimitable, innately avant-pop twist; spanning the droning, folksy disco wormhole of 'Corn' and its studio-wigged, ten minute reprise, shredded up with distorto cello and nuff dub FX, thru to a spine-freezing pair of odd-popsicles in the slow buzzing chamber piece, 'They And Their Friends', and the lushly chaotic whorl of 'Ocean Movie', surely the wildest combination in his (available) catalogue?! The alternate mixes/edits are awesome, too: offering a febrile, noisy mix of our percy, 'See My Brother, He's Jumping Out (Let's Go Swimming #2)', and an hypnotically slompy, salty extension of 'This Is How We Walk On The Moon', plus a sweetly discordant new play on 'Hiding Your Present From You'. They're all a joy to behold, and, quite importantly, give lots of room to his noisier, avant sensibilities, just in case folk forget that he was anything but narrow minded. It's a valuable lesson from the vaults that beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder.