MP3: New Track from Arthur’s Landing

 

Collective of NYC
musicians remake/remodel/re-create compositions of the acclaimed late
songwriter and cellist Arthur Russell.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Just out is the self-titled debut, on Strut, from New York’s Arthur’s Landing. Made up of a
collective of many of the late Arthur
Russell’s closest friends and collaborators, the group uses their
experiences working with Russell as a jumping off point to create new material out
of song fragments, performance exercises, and some of the material on which
they worked together with much loved artist. In
this interview, group members, key contributors to the NYC underground all of
them, discuss the origins of the project, and their relationship to one of the
most beloved and enigmatic figures in modern music. (Go here to read our 2009
feature on Russell.)

 

 

MP3: “Love Dancing” (Is It All Over My
Face)

 


Arthur’s Landing- Love Dancing (Is It All Over My Face) by Strut

 

Arthur’s Landing is essentially morphing collective of
musicians who worked with the singer / songwriter and virtuoso cellist at
various times during his career, from his experimental pop (The Sailboats)
and modern classical (Singing Tractors) to his avant-garde disco projects
(Loose Joints, Dinosaur L). Led by guitarist Steven Hall, Arthur’s Landing is committed to sustaining the
creative and performance ethic of that time and the line-up consists of eight
members, all respected musicians and composers in their own right, with
various guest artists joining the band for specific recordings and live
shows.

 

“We’ve been playing our friend Arthur’s music for
thirty years but never get tired of it because we find his legacy to be an
open source of dazzling inspiration,” says Hall. “Our casual approach is
seemingly leftfield but quite sincere. As troubadours on this sonic
pilgrimage we celebrate and strive to share our unique and intimate knowledge
of the material–and we’re more than happy to do so!”

Arthur’s Landing contains entirely new arrangements of Russell’s works,
some already well-known, some heard for the first time and is produced and
mixed by Brennan Green and the
band’s own Peter Zummo. Tracks
include a nu-disco rework of the Loose Joints anthem “Is It All Over My
Face,” re-named “Love Dancing,” “Your Motion Says” a
dance groove complete with hammer dulcimer intro and “In The Light Of
The Miracle” re-born as “Miracle 2” featuring the distinctive
voice and keyboards of original co-composer Elodie Lauten. Unearthed Russell gems include the surreal
“I’ll Be Fencing,” sung by bassist Ernie Brooks, previously only a demo idea. Brooks states,
“We play this music because it’s part of what we know from the years we
all spent, in widely varied contexts, experiencing and helping to create it
at Arthur’s side.”

Since his death in 1992, fascination with Arthur Russell has steadily grown
with a number of projects celebrating his life and music. Kick-started by an
immaculate series of CD reissues by Steve Knutson at Audika, Matt Wolf’s
documentary bio Wild Combination followed and is now available on DVD.
Electric Minds released a Russell covers album in 2009, ‘Go Bang!’ featuring
new versions by Yam Who, Faze Action, Pocketknife and Recent Memory (Steven
Hall and Joyce Bowden), and Tim Lawrence issued his long-awaited Russell
biography “Hold On To Your Dreams” to acclaim in February 2010.
 

 

The Arthur’s Landing CD and LP packages feature band portraits by New York photographer
Anjali Bhargava. The band’s logo and artwork were designed by Dave Little,
renowned illustrator behind such iconic brands as Boys Own and Flying
Records.  The band will be touring worldwide during 2011.

Arthur’s
Landing line-up:

 
MUSTAFA AHMED: percussion (Afrika Bambaata, James Mason, Peter Gordon’s Love
Of Life Orchestra, drum programmer for Arthur Russell)
 
JOYCE BOWDEN: guitar / clarinet / vocals (Loose Joints, has toured with Joey
Ramone, David Byrne, Jerry Harrison’s Casual Gods, Tom Tom Club)
 
ERNIE BROOKS: bass / vocals (Jonathan Richman’s Modern Lovers, The
Necessaries, Flying Hearts, bass player for Jerry Harrison’s Casual Gods,
Elliot Murphy, Gary Lucas, Rhys Chatham)
 
STEVEN HALL: guitar / vocals (Buddhist Army, Loose Joints, The Sailboats,
Bright + Early, Turbo Sporty, guitarist for Allen Ginsberg Band)
 
PETER ZUMMO: trombone / vocals (Singing Tractors, Peter Zummo’s Noisy
Meditation Band, The Lounge Lizards. Zummo’s own compositions have been
performed at Brooklyn Academy of Music and Lincoln Center)
 
ELODIE LAUTEN: keyboards / vocals / projections (pioneer of the
post-minimalism movement, composer of neo-operas ‘The Death Of Don Juan’ and
‘Waking In New York’ featuring the poetry of Allen Ginsberg. Her compositions
have been presented by The New York City Opera and at Lincoln Center Festival)
 
BILL RUYLE: drums / hammer dulcimer (has worked with Holly Woodlawn, Blue
Gene Tyranny and Dick Connett. Broadway shows include ‘Pirates Of Penzance’
with Linda Ronstadt and the new Julie Taymor production of ‘Spiderman’ with
songs by Bono and The Edge)
 
JOHN SCHERMAN: lead guitar (co-founded The Bottle Caps with Peter Stampfel of
the Holy Modal Rounders, and worked with legendary bluesman L.C. “Good
Rockin” Robinson)
 
Special Guests – album & live shows:
LARRY SALTZMAN (Paul Simon, David Johansen) / XAVIER / NOMI RUIZ (Hercules
& Love Affair)
 
Special Guests – live shows:
JERRY HARRISON (Talking Heads) / PETER GORDON / BRENNAN GREEN / POCKETKNIFE /
GARY LUCAS / JAMES DUNCAN (DFA) / MICHAEL EVANS

Tracklist

1. YOUR MOTION SAYS 7.36
2. MIRACLE 2 6.30
3. GO FOR THE NIGHT 5.52
4. SINGING TRACTORS 64 3.57
5. YOU CAN’T GO BACK 4.00
6. LOVE DANCING 6.34
7. SINGING TRACTORS 12 4.24
8. IT’S A BOY 5.47
9. I’LL BE FENCING 5.11
10. THIS IS HOW WE WALK ON THE MOON: The Way Things Happen 5.59
11. I WANT TO CHANGE MY LIFE 8.30
12. SINGING TRACTORS 323 2.41

 

 

 

 

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