Arthur Russell
Another Thought


4.5
superb

Review

by Cam EMERITUS
July 23rd, 2010 | 34 replies | 9,268 views


Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist


During the months which Another Thought was created, Arthur Russell was contrastingly withering away. Russell was heartbreakingly diagnosed with AIDS after the release of 1986's World of Echo, and the famously prolific artist was finally, unfortunately hindered from making music, from living his well-earned and much-appreciated livelihood, basically. But not prevented: not even full-blown AIDS, not even nasty side-effects like fucking throat cancer, not even the chemo could stop Russell from making music. Thus, Another Thought.

That's the heartbreaking story behind this record, released posthumously as a last hurrah to Russell's twisted, complicated legacy, before he drifted unfairly into obscurity until a resurgence came about many years later. There's also the music. Another Thought looms far and above World of Echo and all of those recently released compilations as the archetypal Russell record, one that blends all of Russell's different guises into one cohesive whole. It's his accidental masterpiece.

Much of Another Thought is filled with the icy, fragile cello textures that filled World of Echo, which perfectly accent Russell's cavernous, yet gentle voice, sounding ripped apart by pain and emotion on every track. That cello is key, and is important to why Another Thought sounds so delightfully otherworldly. A guitar would be too exacting, see: Russell's cello is instead meandering and varied, ranging from the wall-of-sound of "Keeping Up" to the swift, bouncy melodies of "This Is How We Walk On the Moon", without ever losing the same ghostly, nightly aesthetic that the entire album carries, like blues for the anxious, insomniac sort. And with a cello.

That isn't to say Another Thought is same-y, though, or ever runs together. Songs vary from drifty and abstract ("Home Away From Home"; "Losing My Taste For the Nightlife") to danceable and fun ("Me For Real"; "In the Light of the Miracle"), some even finding Russell shedding the cello for the kind of synthetic "mutant disco" he specialized in the early days of his career. But alas, Russell's vocals are as downcast and reverberate with as much echo here as they do on the darker moments of the album, being those moments where it's just him and his cello, when you get that mental picture of him wasting away, working on his album he'll never actually finish. It's like he's fucking drowning in it, the echo, it seems; almost like he just can't escape.

And I like that. Artists like Dan Snaith (Caribou) must like that too, as his recent Swim hits a lot of the same moods and feelings that Another Thought hits. That feeling, in particular, being where you always feel there's just something darker lying underneath, an ominous notion brought upon by the production, by the vocals, by whatever. It's what makes Another Thought more than just a singer-songwriter album, more than just a disco album, or a electronica album, or some sort of avant-garde, performance art, Downtown music sort of thing. No, it's something else, entirely and totally. And, crazier yet, Another Thought is merely an incomplete work; there was perfecting to be had here, somehow. "It's all so unfinished"? The mind boggles.



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3.9
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Comments:Add a Comment 
joshuatree
Emeritus
July 23rd 2010



3743 Comments


figured i should do another review, and have wanted to do this one for a while. so here it is.

qwe3
July 23rd 2010



21154 Comments


damn. really good review. made me really want this. made me all sad too : (

ShadowRemains
July 23rd 2010



19431 Comments


nice review

qwe3
July 23rd 2010



21154 Comments


when you get that mental picture of him wasting away, working on his album he'll never actually finish. It's like he's fucking drowning in it, the echo, it seems; almost like he just can't escape.


aaaaagh

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
July 23rd 2010



3752 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Fucking beautiful Cam. I saw this guy on your last.fm page ages ago, I looked him up but was daunted by his discography and didn't know where to start. Here I guess?

Digging: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Days Of Abandon

joshuatree
Emeritus
July 23rd 2010



3743 Comments


thanks , and yeah this is the best intro to his stuff. love is overtaking me is really good too but that's more folk-sounding and totally unlike anything else he did

Tits McGee
July 23rd 2010



1876 Comments


"damn. really good review. made me really want this. made me all sad too : ("


this. but, again this is a solid review, as always.

Ponton
Emeritus
July 23rd 2010



5775 Comments


yeah review has me interested, never heard of the guy. liked the style you used with it



Digging: Mimicking Birds - Mimicking Birds

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
July 23rd 2010



14884 Comments


great album

SoapySoap
July 23rd 2010



865 Comments


The review has convinced me out check this guy out. I'm interested in hearing this now.

Meloboros
July 24th 2010



1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review, really made me want this album badly even though I'd never heard of Arthur Russell before.

The cello on Home Away From Home is so bizarrely entrancing. It picks up hooks only then to slowly ebb in and out in favor of a more erratic, discordant playing.

fromtheinside
July 24th 2010



16385 Comments


will be getting this and all thanks go to this review.

Digging: Lord Mantis - Death Mask

chrlz
July 24th 2010



47 Comments


thought they made elim staff but then i saw that wasnt true

chrlz
July 24th 2010



47 Comments


guess the jokes on me wokka wokka wokka

Piglet
July 24th 2010



4644 Comments


omg newspaper hats!!

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
July 24th 2010



3752 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So this is hell cool. Which albums next Cam?

chrlz
July 24th 2010



47 Comments


which one u got jus t this??

joshuatree
Emeritus
July 24th 2010



3743 Comments


thought they made elim staff but then i saw that wasnt true


psh i liked this before i learned he did. doesn't look good though does it

So this is hell cool. Which albums next Cam?


other good stuff by this guy, if that's what u meant, is World of Echo, which this is sort of a companion to, I guess. sounds a lot like this but weirder. Love is Overtaking Me is a really good odds-and-ends compilation too, more traditional/singer-songwriter-ish than this but still top-notch

chrlz
July 24th 2010



47 Comments


its a good review tho

joshuatree
Emeritus
July 24th 2010



3743 Comments


ty

z



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