—01. Released on Audika Records
Arthur Russell is an under-appreciated icon of 1970s New York City experimentalism; at one point even acting as musical director of the legendary Soho venue, The Kitchen. The music he produced throughout his career touched on such diverse genres as minimalism, pop, country and disco until his death in 1991 from AIDS. World of Echo, released in 1986, is arguably his seminal and most accomplished work, utilizing only voice, cello and echoes to create drumless, restrained and meditative soundscapes. This approach is filtered through his distinct sensibility by stripping away the extraneous trappings of pop music and used to interpret the language of minimalism already developed in the previous decade by luminary artists such as Steve Reich, Brian Eno and Terry Riley. In the process Russell created a wholly unique album that asserts his important role in 20th century experimental music and proves that his idiosyncratic viewpoint is essentially peerless. In 1987 he perfectly encapsulated the thesis of what this record is about with the statement: “In outer space you can’t take your drums – you take your mind."