Join us today at In Sheep’s Clothing NYC for a listening session dedicated to Arthur Russell.
For those who believe in the notion of hallowed ground, of land plots, meaning and the power of neighborhood histories, listening to the music of Arthur Russell with intention in its natural habitat, Lower Manhattan, carries deep meaning.
It’s not just that you’re existing in the same auditory zone as Russell was when he created World of Echo, his 1985 masterpiece. Or that you’re hanging in “the middle of the center … the center of our soon-to-be innocent fun,” as the cellist, songwriter and artist sings in “Lost in the Meshes.”
It’s more that you can get a sense of the environments. You can walk by the space that held the Kitchen, not far from In Sheep’s Clothing NYC, and know that Russell and musician-engineer Phil Niblock workshopped some of Russell’s most astounding pieces within. You can hit Niblock’s performance space in Soho, XI Records/Experimental Intermedia, and stand in the spot where Russell performed “Lost in the Meshes” below.
On Monday from 2-5 p.m., we’ll be playing at full volume to a quiet, respectful room some of Arthur Russell’s greatest recordings. Does it matter that this event will happen next door to the former Paradise Garage, itself sacred ground for Russell devotees? That’s up to you to decide. Here’s what we’ll be playing:
World of Echo Calling Out of Context Love is Overtaking Me Another Thought Picture of Bunny Rabbit World of Arthur Russell
Since we’re talking Russell, we’d be remiss if we didn’t highlight a fascinating recent conversation about Russell conducted by our friends at Aquarium Drunkard. Specifically, on their Transmissions podcast, AD’s Jason Woodbury sat down with podcaster Matt Marble, author of Buddhist Bubblegum: Esotericism in the Creative Process of Arthur Russell.
The podcast, like Buddhist Bubblegum, offers a fount of information on Russell’s techniques, studies, influences and approaches. Here’s Russell on his intentions for World of Echo (as cited by writer Tim Lawrence):
With this record, World of Echo, my ambition is to play the songs again and again… make them happen twice, as it were (“Beats in Space”).
Why have I made a record with just vocals and cello? Well, it’s like you want to go to outer space but you’re not allowed to take your drums with you. It’s like some huge soundtrack to some pornographic science-fiction movie, absolutely drenched in irony, of course.
Marble then explores the approaches that Russell used to craft World of Echo, one that involves an artist-created series of “P-ideas” that set intentions and rules.
Those in New York today (Monday, November 13) have a rare opportunity to experience in a communal setting and on a brilliant sound system Russell’s musical ideas.
You should arrive early. Word of our Monday dedicated listening sessions has spread, and this one will likely fill up.
Dedicated listening: Arthur Russell Where: In Sheep’s Clothing NYC, 350 Hudson St. (enter on King St.) When: Monday, November 13, 2-5 p.m.