Arthur Russell is one of the most fascinating characters in pop history. He grew up in Iowa a classically trained musician, moved to San Francisco to join a Buddhist monastery (where he couldn't devote completely due to his love for a single material possession: his cello), later moved to New York City to make dance music, and finally withdrew from it all to make this intimate avant-garde masterpiece.
World of Echo showcases the man and his cello with minimal electronic effects. Its interesting that Russell was buddhist because of the non-dualistic nature of the relationship between voice and instrument. Here, the voice is cello / cello is voice. It is also significant that the direction of the album feels incredibly natural, a meandering through casual states of contemplation on an electro-acoustic journey. And when this journey is sometimes met by tension, these obstacles are pacifically avoided.
This is one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever recorded. Still today, Russell's impact can be felt in all areas of avant-garde, minimal classical, art pop and experimental music. Russell had the voice of an angel and the heart of a bodhisattva. Unfortunately, this genius, much like many of his contemporaries, surrendered to AIDS in 1992, leaving us wondering what additional brilliance could have been.
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