Arthur Russell “Calling Out Of Context”


Joshua B.

Arthur Russell is a hidden treasure in the world of music. His music ranges from orchestral, to solo piano, to disco dance beats. The posthumous release of “Calling Out of Context” is rumored to have been created during the steep decline in Russell’s battle with AIDS. I read that this album was ultimately completed by fellow musician Peter Zummo along with the help of others.

Most songs start with cello and vocals then a layered upbeat electronic beat is added. The remaining songs are mostly solo cello and vocals. The songwriting ranges from the abstract shouting of “Calling All Kids” to the refined songwriting of “That’s us, Wild Combination”, and the haunting love song of “You Can Make Me Feel Bad” (the latter titles compete for my favorite on the album).  Although the recording is over 20 years it is as or more compelling than some of the music you hear today. The first time I heard Arthur Russell’s music it was like I found something I did not know I was looking for.

In 2010 Audika reissued “Calling Out Of Context” in a limited run of 1,000 lp’s for Record Store Day. Sometime later I was talking to a fellow music junkie at a local record store. He was wondering which record he should buy that day. I smiled, looked ahead and grabbed him a copy of “Calling Out Of Context.”  I said, “If you buy one record, do yourself a favor and buy this album”. It quickly went out of print again. Luckily on January 5th 2015 Audika is reissuing a re-mastered edition of the album. This is one in a series of reissues Audika is doing of Arthur Russell’s work. I highly advice you, the discernible listener, to give some time to Arthur Russell and his catalog. I don’t want these albums to go out of print leaving you wishing you had heard of them before they were unavailable. If you find yourself wanting more of Arthur Russell “World Of Echo” is a great cello and vocal offering.


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