So good to see this one back in print! World Of Echo was originally released in 1986 and to this day still manages to somehow sound timeless. Arthur Russell's deconstructed songs float by like lullabies conjured up from the ether. It's about the most personal statement that he recorded. Absent are the mutant disco sounds of Dinosaur L, Indian Ocean, and Loose Joints, as well as the more folk rocky leanings of The Necessaries. What we are left with is Russell's tenor (that occasionally garners comparisons to a certain green muppet here at the office), his cello and the various sprinklings of echo, distortion, and reverb that color his recordings. It's a very intimate record that might not grab your attention on first listen. But the sounds he is able to squeeze out of his cello, the rhythms that he creates and implies, and the closeness of his voice will draw you in over time. You might recognize some of the titles, like "Wax The Van" and "Let's Go Swimming," from his disco projects. However, the versions presented on World Of Echo are the distorted cousins of their more dancefloor focused kin. They almost seem like sketches but there is so much more there. This is near bare bones material with many layers of complexity. 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 songs you can hear the studio dialog buried in the mix, accidentally captured on the track. And that all helps to make World Of Echo so personal and unique. Recommended.
- music label: Audika 2014