Arthur Russell

Arthur Russell

Real Name:
Charles Arthur Russell, Jr.
American cellist, artist, and composer (born 21 May 1951 in Oskaloosa, Iowa, USA - died 4 April 1992 in NYC, New York, USA (aged 40).

Born Charles Arthur Russell in 1952 and raised in Oskaloosa, Iowa, where he later studied the cello and began to write his own music. In the early 1970s, he moved to California and studied Indian music at the Ali Akbar Khan School in San Francisco. He met Allen Ginsberg, with whom he began to work, accompanying him on the cello while Allen sang or read his poetry.

In the mid 1970s, Arthur Russell moved to New York. (...) He contributed to The Flying Hearts in studio work and, occasionally, in performance with David Byrne, Rhys Chatham, Jon Gibson, Peter Gordon, Jerry Harrison, Garret List, Andy Paley, Leni Pickett and Peter Zummo. From 1975 to 1979 this ensemble, together with Glenn Iamaro, Bill Ruyle and Jon Sholle, performed and recorded the orchestral composition of Instrumentals (Disques du Crepescule, 1984, Belgium).

In 1979, Arthur wrote and produced "Kiss Me Again", under the name Dinosaur. It was the first disco single to be released by Sire Records, and the first of many of Arthur's' innovative dance tunes. This was followed by "Is It All Over My Face" by Loose Joints, released in 1980. In 1982, Arthur Russell and William Socolov founded Sleeping Bag records and their first release was his "24-24 Music". The number "Go Bang", which originated from this album, was remixed as a 12" single by Francois Kevorkian.

In 1983, the album "Tower Of Meaning" (Chatham Square) was released. This compelling and meditative recording, conducted by Julius Eastman, represents just a fragment of a much larger composition, which includes voices along with its instrumentation.

At the same time, Arthur continued to release dance singles such as "Tell You Today" (4th And Broadway, 1983) an upbeat dance groove featuring the vocals of Joyce Bowden. Additional dance tunes included "Wax The Van" (Jump Street, 1985) with vocals by Lola Blank, wife of notorious Bob, "Treehouse/Schoolbell" (Sleeping Bag, 1986) and "Let's Go Swimming" (Upside/Rough Trade, 1986).

During the mid 1980s, Arthur Russell gave many performances, either accompanying himself on cello with a myriad of effects, or working with a small ensemble consisting of Mustafa Ahmed, Steven Hall, Elodie Lauten and Peter Zummo.

1986 saw the release of "World Of Echo" (Upside/Rough Trade, 1986), which incorporated many of his ideas for pop, dance and classical music for both solo and cello format. This critically acclaimed album was included in Melody Maker's "Top Thirty Releases of 1986".

Arthur also collaborated with a number of choreographers, including John Bernd, Diane Madden, Alison Salzinger and Stephanie Woodard.

When Arthur Russell died of AIDS on April 4, 1992, at the age of 40, the obituary for in the Village Voice wrote: "his songs were so personal that it seems as though he simply vanished into his music."

In 2008, Matt Wolf released a documentary of Russell called "Wild Combination: A Portrait Of Arthur Russell".
In Groups:

Arthur Russell Discography


Arthur Russell Tower Of Meaning (Album) Chatham Square Productions US 1983 Sell This Version
SIDE 8401 Arthur Russell Instrumentals, 1974 - Vol. 2(LP) Another Side SIDE 8401 Belgium 1984 Sell This Version
Arthur Russell World Of Echo (Album) Upside Records US 1986 Sell This Version
Arthur Russell Another Thought (Album) Point Music US 1994 Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

Arthur Russell Let's Go Swimming (EP) Logarhythm US 1986 Sell This Version
TLDJ 49 Arthur Russell In The Light Of The Miracle(12", Promo, W/Lbl) Talkin' Loud TLDJ 49 UK 1996 Sell This Version
RTRADST 167 Arthur Russell Calling Out Of Context - Album Sampler EP(12", EP, Smplr, Ltd) Rough Trade RTRADST 167 UK 2004 Sell This Version
TR001 Arthur Russell / Cant (2) Arthur Russell / Cant (2) - Come To Life / Ghosts(7") Terrible Records (2) TR001 US 2009 Sell This Version
Arthur Russell Ballad Of The Lights (Single) Presspop Music 2010 Sell This Version
BEAR006 Justin Harris Presents Arthur Russell Justin Harris Presents Arthur Russell - Moon(12") Eclectic Avenue Records BEAR006 2011 Sell This Version


Arthur Russell The World Of Arthur Russell (Comp) Soul Jazz Records UK 2003 Sell This Version
Arthur Russell Calling Out Of Context (Comp, Album) Rough Trade UK 2004 Sell This Version
Arthur Russell First Thought Best Thought (Comp) Audika US 2006 Sell This Version
Arthur Russell Springfield (Comp) Audika US 2006 Sell This Version
Arthur Russell Love Is Overtaking Me (Comp) Audika UK 2008 Sell This Version
Arthur Russell The Sleeping Bag Sessions (Comp) Traffic Entertainment Group, Sleeping Bag Records US 2009 Sell This Version
Arthur Russell Corn (Album, Comp) Audika US 2015 Sell This Version
SJR CD83 Arthur Russell The World Of Arthur Russell(CD, Comp) Soul Jazz Records SJR CD83 UK 2016 Sell This Version


033 plexifilm Arthur Russell Wild Combination - A Portrait Of Arthur Russell(DVD, NTSC, All) Plexifilm 033 plexifilm US 2008 Sell This Version


Arthur Russell Another Thought (Radio Edits) (Maxi) Point Music US 1994 Sell This Version