Corn is the first music from Arthur Russell’s diverse catalogue to be released in seven years. The album is made up from nine tracks that were recorded between 1982 and 1983. The direction Russell had taken at this time won’t surprise too many fans as songs from these sessions have appeared on 2004’s Calling Out Of Context. Fans will also be desperate to get their hands on this for the closing track, Ocean Movie, touted as one of Russell’s most beautiful pieces.
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- Corn by Arthur Russell
7/10 Clinton Staff review, 05 June 2015
If we thought that the bottom of the Arthur Russell barrel had already been scraped then we need to think again. This new compilation (proudly described as the first 'new' re-issue of Russell's work in seven years) contains 'rhythmic alternate' versions of several tracks recorded in spring 1982 and spring 1983. The opening 'Lucky Cloud' is marred by a huge thumping 80's snare yet still demonstrates Russell's unusual phrasing and ability to match cello with his haunting voice to create a strange kind of pop. The title track is little more than a terrible drum machine with slithers of Russell's cello appearing through the clatter. 'See My Brother, He's Jumping Out' is more funky and in line with his Dinosaur L material while an alternate version of one of his best tracks 'This Is How We Walk on the Room' is barely recognisable. On each track the drum machine is louder than everything else which mars thing somewhat. I'm sure Russell never expected this stuff to be released.
The B side throws up some interesting experiments, 'They and Their Friends' is a fuzzy experimentation with distorted cello and scatting vocals, whilst 'Ocean Movie' is like nothing else in Russell's cannon being sound collage in nature with shards of instruments overlapping in a proto- Fennesz manner.
Although it contains moments of interest, this collection is really for completists only and is more of value as a historical document than listening experience. For God's sake don't begin your Arthur Russell experience here.
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