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Arthur Russell


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Arthur Russell (May 21 1951 - April 4, 1992) was a prodigious talent. Classically trained on cello while growing up in Oskaloosa, Iowa, Arthur studied with Ali Akbar Khan in San Francisco in the early 1970’s.

During this period he also collaborated with Allen Ginsberg, accompanying him on cello while Ginsberg read or sang. Russell also spent time in a Buddhist commune in California; he left when they decided to collectivize his cello.

By the mid-1970’s Russell relocated to New York City, where he studied at The Manhattan School of Music. He formed a band from 1975-1979, The Flying Hearts, recorded by John Hammond and featuring David Byrne, Rhys Chatham, Jon Gibson, Peter Gordon, Jerry Harrison, Garret List, Frank Pagano, Andy Paley, Leni Pickett, and Peter Zummo.

In the late 1970s Russell became enamored with the disco scene in New York. At the time it represented a liberation force, particularly for the gay scene, just a few years after the Stonewall riots. (For more see “Turn the Beat Around: The Secret History of Disco” by Peter Shapiro).

‘Kiss Me Again’ was Russell’s first dance track. Released under the name Dinosaur L by Sirerecords, it was to be the first of many innovative dancefloor tracks released under different names and with different collaborators, such as ‘Is It All Over My Face’ by Loose Joints, released in 1980. In 1982, Arthur Russell and William Socolov founded Sleeping Bag records and their first release was his 24-24 Music. This featured ‘Go Bang’ which was re-mixed as a 12” single by Francois Kevorkian.


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  • angelsnack

    the greatest

    24 Apr 4:11pm Reply
  • Spill-T

    @ashleesimpson18 not Ashlee Simpson that's for fucking sure

    14 Apr 3:21am Reply
  • AshleeSimpson18

    What is this

    17 Mar 1:54am Reply
  • Hallshaster

    I haven't been this jessed over a musician since that winged rat, Darla championed Oreo Bath during the '87 Dixie SlideOff. I miss her. Perhaps the drink will calm this broken stereo that is my lonely heart.

    16 Mar 8:08pm Reply
  • Wubzilla

    Calling out of Context and Overtaking Me have been repressed on vinyl for anybody after those albums.

    27 Feb 11:54pm Reply
  • DavidM_


    17 Feb 8:39pm Reply
  • alaalamo

    does it get any better

    9 Feb 3:58am Reply
  • sumidiotdude

    the Master Mix covers compilation is sooo great

    24 Jan 7:15am Reply
  • yoozy-cutie

    i will always love his music

    18 Jan 10:02pm Reply
  • LSDerrington

    Huh, had never heard of him before. "World of Echo" is way ahead of its time.

    16 Jan 2:11pm Reply
  • SorenAlexShuya

    Not really a big fan of his disco releases apart for a few catchy songs but the cello ones are soulful

    30 Dec 2014 Reply
  • phlegm-yo

    i'm so happy that i met you and came to find

    26 Dec 2014 Reply
  • hairpolice

    rather listen to the originals

    25 Dec 2014 Reply
  • cheezeybaines

    Porches. cover of I Couldn't Say It to Your Face is real sweet

    4 Dec 2014 Reply
  • skeletonbone

    Amazing seeing all these covers getting recognition, Jose Gonzales, Sufjan etc. Arthur lives!

    1 Nov 2014 Reply
  • jinzou

    music is loev

    30 Sep 2014 Reply
  • jinzou

    also a human crying in a dark room

    30 Sep 2014 Reply
  • jinzou

    i'm a tectonic plate made of air walking on a moon kissing a lucky cloud with a tiger inside

    30 Sep 2014 Reply
  • pierrebautista

    What's interesting Phonophobe is I'd recommend Another Thought; What were your thoughts on "A Little Lost"? He was in a power pop band The Necessaries which I'm not fond of, but it's worth looking into. If you want his poppier more accessible stuff Id look into his disco ouevre, Loose Joints "Is It All Over My Face", Dinosaur "Kiss Me Again (Version)" it's the b-side to "Kiss Me Again" but it's looser, funkier and contains some brilliant danceable cello play.

    12 Sep 2014 Reply
  • TomH86

    phonophobe, i'd urge you to stick with it. his more obtuse, cerebral works might take a while.

    26 Jul 2014 Reply
  • All 345 shouts

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