domingo, outubro 21, 2007

Arthur Russell tribute

Sunday evening, the end of the weekend.
I’m listening to Duyster on the radio. That reminds me that I bought me some related tracks on emusic in the past week. By chance I came across Four Songs by Arthur Russell in a cover version (emusic keeps track of your download history, that’s why they presented me this material). I only knew one of the covering artist, Jens Lekman. The others were complete strangers to me, that is, until I googled a bit. I turns out that this is a Jens Lekman tribute on behalf of Arthur Russell which he set up with a couple of friends.

A nice gesture I think, especially with such exquisite covers. I know that some people have a problem with Arthur Russell’s voice - or rather the lack of - or his cello. I don’t have a problem with either but for those people this initiative is a chance to get a pure taste of Arthur Russell, the songwriter.

Concerning this project, I found the following lines by Lekman explaining the affinity and the Four Songs project:

I first met Arthur Russell when I was 19. I had just graduated and all my friends had gone to London or Paris. I was left alone with exactly 126 euros and I knew I had to go somewhere. The only thing I could find for that money was a bus trip to the Mosel Valley in Germany. Unfortunately it turned out to be a wine-testing trip for old people. I was highly disappointed at first, I had expected some kind of adventure, but after a while I just started walking around in the hills with my walkman. A friend had made a tape with songs from Arthur Russell's "Another Thought" and so that week the most beautiful voice I'd ever heard accompanied the most beautiful landscapes I'd ever seen. I burned my neck really bad.
Four years later I was playing shows here and there and I often played Arthur's "A Little Lost" on my kalimba. I had suggested to my friend Victoria Bergsman that maybe we should make a cover single or EP of Arthur's songs. She put me in touch with Verity Susman from Electrelane (as Vera November) and I brought in Joel Gibb from the Hidden Cameras. At this point we felt there was a certain symmetry between us, we could've brought in a few more and made a tribute album but tribute albums are boring in my opinion and tend to lose focus halfway through...
For me, the choice of song was never a question as I'd been playing "A Little Lost" on and off for three years. I managed to make my kalimba sound like drops of water and just recorded it in a few hours at home.

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