Published Dec 07, 2016Once again, the musical genius of the late, great Arthur Russell is set to be celebrated with a new reissue. Following the Tower of Meaning re-release earlier this year, Russell's moving 1974 effort Instrumentals will arrive as a new vinyl reissue.
While previous collected on the 2006 comp First Thought Best Thought along with Tower of Meaning, Instrumentals will come back to vinyl as a 2-LP set on February 24 via Audika Records.
Instrumentals collects some of Russell's earliest work and comes from way before his famed disco period. Taking on a more neo-classical approach, the songs included present a much different side to Russell than may be familiar to many fans, but it's also one of his most intriguing, if not beautiful, pieces of work.
Instrumentals was initially intended to be performed in one 48-hour cycle, but only it only arrived in excerpts at a series of different concerts and as works in progress. It was captured live in New York at the Kitchen (1975 and 1978) and Franklin St. Arts Center (1977) and featured such famed players as Ernie Brooks, Rhys Chatham, Julius Eastman, Jon Gibson, Peter Gordon, Garrett List, Andy Paley, Bill Ruyle, Dave Van Tieghem and Peter Zummo.
Here's what a press release says of the collection: "Traversing the popular and the serious, Arthur composed Instrumentals in 1974, inspired by the photography of his Buddhist teacher, Yuko Nonomura, as Arthur described, 'I was awakened, or re-awakened to the bright-sound and magical qualities of the bubblegum and easy-listening currents in American popular music.'"
The press release goes on to describe Instrumentals Vol. 1 as "Americana touching on Copeland, Ives, and maybe even Brian Wilson," while "Instrumentals Vol. 2 is a moving, deeply pastoral work performed by the CETA Orchestra and conducted by Julius Eastman."
Along with all Russell's Instrumentals work, the reissue will include the tracks "Reach One," and "Sketch for 'Face of Helen,'" both of which were also included on the First Thought Best Thought comp.