It’s always cause for celebration when we’re treated to rare material from legendary producer/songwriter Arthur Russell.
These three newly discovered tracks originate from a series of 1985 sessions with multi-instrumentalist Steven Hall, who now fronts the Arthur Russell tribute act Arthur’s Landing. Russell had been called in to produce and mix Hall’s solo material, but as you can hear from the tracks, he ended up doing far more; programming beats, singing and playing his signature cello. Hall was working on a record for Rough Trade at the time, and while it never surfaced at the time, he is issuing them now under his new Nirosta Steel moniker and Foxy Pup will be released on 12″ by Parisian label Hollie Records on April 20.
It’s typically revelatory stuff, with Russell’s sonic signature evident from the very beginning in the stark, b-boy drum programming and deliriously echoic vocals. Title track ‘Foxy Pup’ is the clear highlight, and probably the most Russell-heavy too, but each song appears to capture a beautiful sense of collaboration. Bob Blank, who engineered the session, revealed a great deal about the recording:
“Arthur was, as usual, the ringleader who set the mood, always either encouraging or playing. Steven got into ‘the zone’ with sometimes closed eyes and a gentle way with the music; Arthur was the collector of takes and many times after the sessions with Steven I would hear the music go through many permutations as Arthur added ideas and what are now called ‘beats’ to the song fragments and parts laid down. Never satisfied, Arthur would continually run a DAT tape as he worked, capturing hours of attempts to mold the music. Steven was a muse sometimes for Arthur as well, as Steven gave substance to the energy that Arthur put into the music.”
You can hear the results below. [via Pitchfork]