I still haven’t heard Kanye West’s new album The Life Of Pablo, but he apparently just added a handful of tracks to it, in addition to the official list released yesterday. This is the first one I’ve heard and it’s incredible.
On 30 Hours, Kanye samples Arthur Russell, quotes Nelly, and completely reset my expectations for the album.
This is good.
To be honest, all I had to hear was “sampled Arthur Russell” and I was all over this. The tune comes together really well, and Kanye’s rhymes still appear to be in peak form. I’ve got high hopes for the album.
Hopefully he changes the cover art too. I really like this faded photo.
I’m a little lost without you
That could be an understatement
A little over a week ago I wrote about Arthur Russell’s Corn. Another posthumous monument to an artist who died long before the world could appreciate his genius, it got me spelunking into the vast caverns of his discography, picking out old gems for an even closer look.
I found this wonderful fan-made video, using footage from a Soviet animated short, Girl And Dolphin, by Rosalie Zelma. Paired with the dreamlike love song A Little Lost, it’s an achingly gorgeous way to spend three minutes.
It’s hard to describe to a newcomer exactly what Arther Russell does that’s so ineffably unique. He’s a cellist, composer, and otherworldly disco producer who crafted some of the strangest and most deeply affecting music the world has ever known. His singing is deeply felt, vulnerable, and nothing like any classic vocalist.
Arthur Russell was unforgivably ignored in his lifetime, but I am so thankful that the massive body of work he kept to himself has been thoughtfully collected and released in the years since. He may have died before I was 10 years old, but he’s now one of my favorite musicians ever.
The man’s brief career began in the 70s collegiate avant-garde scene, collaborating with Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Rhys Chatham, and most notably, Allen Ginsberg, accompanying the beat poet’s live work on cello. He moved into the gritty New York disco scene and crafted some of the most alien dance singles of the era before finally crafting his own masterpiece. World Of Echo, a solo journey of vocals, cello, soft percussion and electronic effects, is the only full album released during his lifetime, as Russell died of AIDS in 1992, nearly broke.