Losing My Taste for the Night Life
An evening in the spirit of Arthur Russell
He was friends with and mentored by Allen Ginsberg, jammed with Talking Heads and collaborated with John Cage and Steve Reich, but the now iconic composer, disco-producer and avant-garde cellist Arthur Russell was not a particularly well-known name outside lower Manhattan when he died in 1992.
His music spans extremely wide, from disco and modern classical music, country and singer-songwriter folk, to dub and new wave. Russell has been recognized as an important influence for a variety of musical directions and musicians in recent years, and has been honoured by artists such as Arcade Fire, Robyn, Lonnie Holley, Sufjan Stevens and James Murphy et al.
Over the last ten years, Arthur Russell’s music has come to light through a series of releases, as well as the documentary Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell by Matt Wolf and the biography Hold On to Your Dreams: Arthur Russell and the Downtown Music Scene by Tim Lawrence.
nyMusikk celebrates the iconic musician with an Arthur Russell inspired programme:
- Panel and listening séance with Arthur Russell favourites
With Russell connoisseurs such as cellist Oliver Coates and producer Kelly Lee Owens and others.
- Avant disco with AMOR
A brand new avant-super group consisting of the award-winning filmmaker and musician Luke Fowler, the experimental folk musician Richard Youngs, Franz Ferdinand drummer Paul Thomson and the renowned double bass player Michael Duch.
- Oliver Coates cello and electronica club set
Coates has made film scores with Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood (on The Master and There Will Be Blood) and with Mica Levi (on Under the Skin with Scarlett Johansson). He will release a record with Levi in November and his solo album Upstepping (Prah, 2016) is out now. He is a virtuoso cellist with one foot in the classical music and the other in club music. Listen to "Timelapse - Walrus" at Boiler Room.
- Kelly Lee Owens DJ set
Dance / electronica producer and singer Kelly Lee Owens has recently signed with Norwegian Smalltown Supersound. She has collaborated with techno producer Daniel Avery, released the single "Arthur" as a tribute to Arthur Russell (featured in Alexander McQueen’s Autumn/Winter 2016 runway show) and made a remix of Jenny Hval’s "Kingsize." Her Smalltown debut was released in October.
Taking equal influences from pioneer disco remixers such as Walter Gibbons or Danny Krivit on one hand and composers such as Xenakis and Lachenmann on the other, this group discard traditional disco structures to embark on extended explorations of sonority, song-form and space. This hybrid form could perhaps best be described as a sort of disco musique concrete.
This new avant-supergroup is comprised of award-winning filmmaker and electronic music producer Luke Fowler, and the avantgarde folk singer and composer Richard Youngs, Franz Ferdinand drummer Paul Thomson and Norwegian double bassist Michael Duch.
Oliver Coates is a cellist, composer and electronic music producer based in London. He was the winner of the Royal Philharmonic Society Young Artist Award 2011 and is an Artist in Residence at the Southbank Centre. He has released records on Prah Recordings and Slip, and collaborates with the London Contemporary Orchestra, Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood (on The Master and There Will Be Blood), Mica Levi (on Under the Skin) and the visual artist Lawrence Lek (on the award-winning video piece Unreal Estate).
With Lek, he presented the world premiere of a new work, QE3, at this year's Glasgow International festival, and he programmed the Southbank Centre’s DEEP∞MINIMALISM festival this summer. His solo LP, Upstepping, was recently released on Prah, and he will release a collaborative record with Mica Levi, Remain Calm, on Slip in November.
KELLY LEE OWENS
Without knowing it, you've probably heard Kelly Lee Owens's work over the past few years: the 27-year-old London producer contributed vocals and writing to several tracks on fellow UK techno wizard Daniel Avery's debut LP, 2013's Drone Logic, and she's made waves with a pair of limited-release 12" singles showcasing her gifts for spectral, hallucinatory pop. On the Oleic EP, her debut release on Smalltown Supersound, Owens flexes her considerable muscle as a dance producer with four luscious, deeply satisfying slices of big-room electronic music.
She has previously made a ode to Arthur Russell with her single “Arthur” featured in Alexander McQueen’s Autumn/Winter 2016 runway show) and a charred techno rework of Jenny Hval's "Kingsize.”
Arthur Russell (1951 –1992) was an American cellist, composer and singer whose work spanned a disparate range of styles. Trained in contemporary experimental composition and Indian classical music, Russell found success in downtown New York's avant-garde and disco scenes in the 1970s and 1980s, during which time he was associated with minimalism and the experimental music venue The Kitchen. He collaborated with a wide variety of artists, including composers Steve Reich and Philip Glass, poet Allen Ginsberg, musicians such as Peter Zummo and David Byrne, and DJs such as Walter Gibbons and Nicky Siano.
World of Echo (1986) would be his only full-length solo album to see release during his lifetime. He died from AIDS in 1992 and left behind nearly 1,000 hours of recorded material — from disco to country to avant-garde orchestral pieces. Throughout the 2000s, a series of reissues, compilations, books, and a biographical documentary significantly raised his profile.