Arthur Russell Tribute Album Gets a Release Date & A Full List of Artists — Who Made the Cut?
The breadth of musicians inspired by the late Arthur Russell is so vast, it's hard to find someone who wasn't inspired by his massive body of work. That's why it's big news that the tribute album to Russell by the Red Hot Organization finally has a release date and a list of artists. Master Mix: Red Hot + Arthur Russell is set to be released on October 21st and includes a big roster of artists like Robyn, Sufjan Stevens, Hot Chip, Blood Orange, Devendra Banhart, Scissor Sisters, Arcade Fire's Richard Reed Parry, Cults, Lonnie Holley, Colin Stetson, Neon Indian's Alan Palomo as VEGA INTL., and many others. The tribute album is a part of a series from Red Hot to raise awareness for AIDS. Russell is the second artist covered who has died of complications from AIDs; their last tribute album, Red Hot + Fela, was a tribute to Fela Kuti.
And while the roster for this tribute album is impressive, it misses the mark a little. It seems the aim of the album was to get more contemporary and up-and-coming artist, but in pursuing this mission, it fails to capture some of the breadth of Russell's work. Arthur Russell's music was full of contradictions: the avant-garde and the pop; the minimalist and the luxury of disco. Yet the roster of artists on his tribute album seem to lean in one direction: shaggy indie bands with whistles and banjos and few-to-no women. Not that these kinds of bands are inherently bad, but promoting so many of the same kind of band doesn't exactly encourage diverse interpretations of Russell's work.
So here's a few artists who might have been overlooked for the tribute album:
Minimalist pop that sounds like its coming from an Arthur Russell disciple. tooth ache.'s music also has the sort of floating, ethereal quality that Russell's work embodied so well.
David Byrne + Saint Vincent
For multiple reasons: because Russell collaborated with the Talking Heads when he was alive, because Saint Vincent is a kickass female guitarist, because both are definitive pop minimalist weirdos.
Russell was a huge contributor to early disco (most notably with Loose Joints' "Is It All Over My Face"), and Todd Terje is one of the most talented new artists in the resurgence of disco today through electronic music.
Speaking of disco, Estonian musician Maria Minerva reconfigures the genre through a dark lens. And while her work generally sounds much darker than Russells', it still has the same hazy, strange quality.
Image: Wikimedia Commons