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Arthur Russell Calling Out Of Context Vinyl 2LP

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Key repress! This record is so essential to some of us at the Lab that we swore we already stocked it. It's not secret that we're fans of the multitalented cellist, Arthur Russell. At this point we can assume that most of you are familiar with at least some of Russell's vast catalog of work. His compositions span the deeply personal and intimate solo cello work of World Of Echo to classic disco anthems like Loose Joints' "Is It All Over My Face." He even dabbled in the country, folk and pop tinged rock that can be found on Love Is Overtaking Me. Calling Out Of Context, the first release from Audika, collects unreleased tracks from Russell that somehow live in the middle ground between all of the areas he explored. Russell was notorious for continually reworking his music and never being able to call it done. Much of the material on this compilation comes from a 1985 album that was never released, along with an album that was never completed due to the work Russell continued to put into it throughout the latter half of the 80s. Despite the disparate sources of the material the sound throughout the album is remarkably consistent. Those that are familiar with Indian Ocean's "School Bell / Treehous" and "Let's Go Swimming" will have an idea of what to expect. There are hazy songs that recall memories and shared past experiences, and flirtations with pop and R&B. Much of the sound is electronic, with drum machines carrying the majority of the rhythms. At times Russell is joined by Mustafa Ahmed on percussion and Peter Zummo on trombone, and the album closes with a Walter Gibbons mix of "Calling All Kids." The real standout of everything that is presented here is the 7 minute journey of "That's Us / Wild Combination" where Russell recounts family road trips over loosely played organ along with beautiful vocal harmonies from Jennifer Warnes. It's out there and experimental, emotional and touching, but nearly as catchy as any pop song out there. One of the unique songs that only Arthur Russell could pull off. Recommended.

  • music label: Audika 2004 / 2015
reviewed by Michu Meszaros 03/2015