UNINTELLIGIBLE! shouts the marketing sticker, and we can't really argue with that. World Of Echo was originally released in 1986 on Rough Trade Records (!) and sounds timeless to this very day. Arthur Russell's deconstructed cello "songs" float by like lullabies conjured rom the ether. It's the most authentic personal statement that he ever recorded, and the only LP he completed to his satisfaction in his lifetime. Absent are the mutant disco sounds of Dinosaur L, Indian Ocean, and Loose Joints, as well as the folk rock /power pop stylings of The Necessaries. What we are left with is Russell's croaking tenor (that occasionally garners comparisons to a certain green muppet here at the office), his cello and the various sprinklings of, well, echo, distortion, and reverb that color his recordings. It's a very intimate record that may even fade into the background upon your first listen. But the sounds he is able to squeeze out of his cello, the rhythms that he constructs (and implies), and the closeness of his voice will reel you in over time. Russell might put his voice in different settings over the course of one song, or pile layers of echo on top of his cello like a crude looping pedal. On some cuts, you can hear studio chatter buried in the mix, accidentally captured on the track. You might recognize some titles such as "Wax The Van" and "Let's Go Swimming" from his disco projects, However, the versions presented on World Of Echo are the distorted half-cousins of their more dance floor-oriented counterparts. The songs seem like raw sketches, but there are endless layers to be revealed upon a close listen. Highly recommended.
- double vinyl pressing
- music label: Audika 2014
reviewed by Michu Meszaros 03/2014