The latest installment of the Red Hot series benefiting AIDS awareness is Master Mix: Red Hot + Arthur Russell, an amazing 26 song journey through Arthur’s diverse work covered by an amazing list of musicians, many of which I have to say I’ve featured on this Tunesday series.
For the many of you who probably don’t know Arthur Russell, he was a prolific composer and musician who was very active in the New York underground music scene from the 70s until his death in 1992 from AIDS related illnesses. As is the unfortunate case with many of humanity’s great artists, true acceptance, celebration and commercial success happens post mortem. Arthur himself never received much in the way of commercial success and passed away in relative obscurity. His influence though on the musicians he played with while he was alive and the generations of musicians following is indelible up to this day, decades after his passing.
So which song to choose from this amazing compilation of tributes for this week’s #Tunesday post? There are many gems on the double-length album but the one that’s on heavy rotation for me is Jose Gonzalez’s cover of “This Is How We Walk On The Moon.” Listen to the original by Arthur and it’s not hard to hear both the influence on Gonzalez and the reason why he picked this particular song to pay tribute with. The original is a minimal combination of cello and vocals primarily mixed with some light rhythms, horns in a lightly psychedelic and hypnotic mixture; Gonzalez takes this track and melds it into his own meditative interpretation, replacing the cello with guitar of course but keeping the same spatial and hypnotic mix of instrumentation. It’s definitely one of the standouts on the important compilation.
Remember that the fight against AIDS is far from over so please buy the album to help support the cause.