Arthur Russell - Instrumentals

Audika presents another chapter in their ongoing Arthur Russell campaign. With Instrumentals, the focus is on Russell’s early compositional work in the mid 70s upon his arrival to New York City following a 3 year period studying with Ali Akbar Khan in Northern CA and orchestration at the SF Conservatory of Music. Featuring the likes of Rhys Chatham, Julius Eastman, Jon Gibson, Peter Gordon, Dave Van Tieghem, and Peter Zummo, Side 1 is summarized by movements of plaintive chords and swells of woodwinds, electric guitar, and Russell’s trademark cello. What feels like unfinished, sublime sketches come into full bloom on side 2 with more sweeping tones and cinematic strokes that are not unlike Brian Wilson’s compositions from the late 60s. Jon Gibson’s clarinet and flute take the lead while the percussion work of Van Tighem and Bill Ruyle give the instrumentalists earthy ground to lie on. The 2nd album presents Russell’s experiments with noise and texture highlighted by “Face of Helen” with Russell working analog electronics and a “tugboat” emitting fat rubbery tones alongside sparse keyboards. Overall, Instrumentals is a must have to round out any collection of Arthur Russell’s recordings. (Dom)

Check out a track here