Arthur Russell - Corn LP
The curious case of Arthur Russell continues with a new posthumous collection of previously unreleased versions of archival material recorded in the early eighties, but sounding as modern as ever. Like Love is Overtaking Me and Calling Out of Context, Corn was material that was being prepared for release at the time of its making, but for reasons unknown was scrapped. Russell was infamous for never being able to finish anything (he only released one proper album, World of Echo, in his lifetime, and many of his most popular dance tracks had multiple versions and often had to be finished by other producers such as Walter Gibbons and Francis Kevorkian), and it wasn't until after his death from AIDS in 1992 at the age of 40, that the world got to hear the full breadth of his musical genius. Flirting with modern classical, folk, disco and rock sometimes all in the same track but oftentimes exploring one genre expansively at great length, Corn mostly explores electro-pop, with a little bit of everything in between. With voice, drum rhythms and distorted cello, the music is neither quite aimed for the dancefloor like The World of Arthur Russell collection, nor is it as spare and oceanic as World of Echo or Another Thought. Instead, it strikes a highly listenable middle ground that takes a few of his better known tracks such as "Let's Go Swimming" and "This Is How We Walk On The Moon" into quite different pop-dance territory than on previous collections. And we don't recall the distorted cello having been such a sonic force on previous collections either, culminating in the eight minute abstract noisescape "Ocean Movie" that concludes this collection. While we originally thought this wouldn't be the collection we'd recommend for the uninitiated, we have been consistently selling copies every time we have played it in the store to folks who have no idea who Arthur Russell was, and we ourselves and been loving this release more and more each time we listen. Recommended!