Village Voice 04.19.2017 : Page 23

23 Russell, his cello, and Allen Ginsberg, at a performance in the Seventies. The musician and poet were frequent collaborators and even lived in the same East Village building. April 19 April 25, 2017 Below: Arthur Russell, on the beach, c. 1980, a decade before his AIDS-related death at forty VILLAGE Unknown, c. 1970s / Courtesy of the Music Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts possible to reduce. Find the version that clocks in at 12:42 and you’ll hear Byrne’s rhythm guitar work itself into a blur around the ten-minute mark, moving from a clean chicken-scratch to a fuzzy German chug. The main hook seems to be the horn line, until Russell’s cello part comes in; both are more memorable than the vocal melody. While sounding absolutely nothing like Instrumentals , “Kiss Me Again” presents the same sense of indeterminacy: equally strong both — but in the meantime, go to the Natman Room and look at my favorite of the seeds on display. Russell always carried a piece of com-position paper, folded into quarters, in his front shirt pocket. Some of these sheets were used for compositions, but many were just notes (or phone num-bers). These were ideas, not lyrics, some-times put into parentheses; some are works yet to be inished, others predic-tions that came true. “Exploit fact that ‘OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS, PEOPLE HAVE STARTED UNDERSTANDING WHAT WAS GREAT ABOUT ARTHUR’ sections that could be arranged in any order without depleting the vibrancy or masking the voice. On April 20, Matt Wolf ’s elegant docu-mentary on Russell, Wild Combination , will be shown at BAM, as will Phill Ni-block’s short movie from 1988, Terrace of Unintelligibility , a twenty-minute close-up of Russell’s mouth near a microphone, ilmed while he played cello and sang. Two days later, on the 22nd, BAM will host a free tribute concert led by a clutch of Russell’s original collaborators. Go to amorphous material is always in sync when greeted by a drumbeat.” “Speaker cabinets that are paraplegics.” “Nature documentary on radio with crunching sound effects only.” One of them reads like a sticker Russell might have printed up for this exhibit. He just didn’t get around to it. “(p Idea: its clear that any style can be heard [in] the recording, yet critics continue to put a ‘price’ on the trappings of form, really in the imagination) (sometimes very clearly).” Courtesy of Tom Lee

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