Boomkat Product Review:
Apart from being home to America's most dysfunctional family, 'Springfield' was also the one of the last songs recorded by the late avant-disco pioneer Arthur Russell. We've seen a pleasingly large amount of his work bubble up to the surface in the last few years, but this double vinyl release shows that there are still gems to come, and the title track is a testament to that if ever there was one. Apparently Russell was eager to enlist the help of another producer to assist with the mixing of 'Springfield', and the version he had left when he died was considered 'unmixed', so Audika have signed up NY hipsters DFA to lend their studio expertise to the track. Although this is credited as a 'remix' - DFA have actually finished the track; EQed and lengthened it, trying to make sense of Russell's singular vision. This makes me quite glad to be honest as I wasn't relishing hearing Russell's work chopped and re-interpreted, and thankfully DFA do a damn good job in polishing the track off. However, saying this I actually prefer the rougher 'original' edit, which is included here on the second side - it's obviously not perfect in regard to the final mix, but that only adds to the track's distinct charm and enhances its peculiar appeal. As the off-time synth stabs and cracking vocals saturate the mix it feels like you connect with Russell as he bears his fragility yet again on record. There is little more coaxing you should need to buy this record, but Audika have been kind enough to boost up the track-listing with some obscure and ultra-rare catalogue gems starting with a lesser heard early version of the Russell classic 'Let's Go Swimming'. Entitled 'See My Brother, He's Jumping Out' this is a denser and more haphazard rendition of what would eventually become one of Russell's calling cards and a master class in minimal, spacious mutant-disco. Elsewhere we have 'Corn #3' from the proposed (and scrapped) 'Corn' LP and the record ends on a frighteningly current sounding piece of industrial no-wave with 'You Have Did The Right Thing When You Put That Skylight In'. Russell distorts his cello beyond recognition to belch up a pseudo metal drone which would likely have Sonic Youth scraping at the windows - this is fabulously revealing stuff and adds further weight to the musician's status as audio alchemist extraordinaire. As if you needed any recommendation from us to purchase an Arthur Russell record - but I may as well let you know that it's utterly unmissable.