Arthur Russell
World of Echo


5.0
classic

Review

by ethos USER (2 Reviews)
September 10th, 2013 | 123 replies


Release Date: 1986 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An empty canvas is full.

Directions and my mind don't work. Name any significant edifice that most of us spend a majority of our time in over the course of our lives and I can almost guarantee you that I've been lost in it. Churches, schools, homes, offices, gyms - if it's remotely average in space chances are I've been caught going around in circles within it's doors. Teachers would ask me to bring papers or roll calls to certain locations in my schools and I would reply back honestly informing them that I wouldn't be back to class within a good thirty minutes due to my lack of sense when it came to directions. And of course, driving usually triggered immediate despondency without a GPS to anyone riding in company. Almost to the point where if I haven't been to the location at least ten or so times before I won't attempt in travelling to it without meticulous directions or a map out of respect to the passenger.

Friends and family have obviously noticed how horrible my direction is and some have had the displeasure of accompanying me in my "adventures". They've also had their fair share of opinions or laughs on my level of intelligence regarding navigation and although many have said that it should, my sense of direction has never bothered me. Nothing about being constantly lost has ever frightened or startled me - I've never felt insecure or threatened from being uneducated on my location, never hopeless on finding a way out.

I say this because I believe music to be heavily instinctual. No one can put their complete faith into what sounds or what notes will proceed after the current being played - they just find a way of knowing from living through it, enjoying it's craft and exploring it's depth. Up until finding Arthur Russell's World of Echo I never sat down and thought of music in that light, I just felt as though somewhere within myself I always understood the kind of presence music possessed and hoped others did as well.

The expressions within the sounds of music, the way the notes were mapped out and placed in different areas, how you could always look at ideas presented in a different perspective - all of it gave me joy while listening. The honesty shown through music, all of it just resonated within me in a way that gave the mapped out sounds meaning - the emotions alone were enough of a reason to commit absolutely everything to memory.

However, every so often I would listen to something I wouldn't understand. Instead of having that sense of certainty or direction within the sounds presented, I felt as though I was right back in the hallways of my freshman year in high school. Completely lost and enamored by that sense of being astray. These were the sounds that yielded true potential and eventually became my favorite. What could this possibly possess that I haven't yet understood? I had whatever amount of time I chose to understand it - I couldn't arrive early or late due to being lost, and I didn't have to submit to anyone in apologies if I did. Every sound presented was completely laid out specifically for my curiosity... exploring them which way I chose, without the baggage of laughs or negative opinions at that current moment's lack of direction. It became an addiction. I always desired more, the strange sense of certainty and direction that music endowed me with.. I was constantly searching for new places in sound to explore. Despite being almost always lost in the real world, when thrown into the environment of music I almost always felt adept and familiar with what surrounded me.

When I first played World of Echo I was so lost that I started laughing, it seemed as if the entire thing was a joke. Nothing made sense or sounded like anything I had ever heard before and I loved it. Tone Bone Kone had the strangest sense of charm but ended so quickly that I could barely remember all the things going on within it. Like a type of testing ground to proceed into the album because the songs which followed held a completely different mood. As if Arthur Russell purposely put it as the introduction to the album to ward off anyone not willing to approach it with the right mindset. This album as a whole is the essence of curiosity through music. An enigma, it's purpose is to be initially misunderstood, re-listened to, and genuinely felt. It encourages you to become shrouded in it's intricate layering yet simplistic songwriting and to question every note brought forth. Completely original and primitive - like an artist doodling on a scratch piece of paper, then finding some small spark of an idea and immediately taking off with it in the most honest way possible.. creating an abundance of emotion. As if the creator himself purposely made difficult or trying sounds to become immersed in, just to come out with something that has been thoroughly deserved, thought-out, and undeniably beautiful. So bold in soul but quiet and frail in nature, as if it could just lay down to rest at any moment and be at complete peace.

Tones and pitches presented that you wish to completely engross your entire body in; being caught within four walls enveloping themselves around you - growing louder and pulsing as each second of reverb passes by. Alive with the texture of a fog or mist as the album cover represents, wrapping around it's listener with it's glowing warmth and comfort, healing both the mind and the soul. Each song is consistently brilliant and feels like it's after a specific moment or purpose exploring every option and idea until it reaches it. Not one note is ever wasted and if you were to exclude anything written from it, the entire collective piece would fall apart. Nothing can make me feel the way this does, and it's almost impossible to describe properly through words. Pure innocence - creative brilliance, absolutely perfect for what it sets out to express and achieve. Clearly an artist with an almost insurmountable amount of diligence and positive conviction in music. World of Echo truly is in a world of it's own, and it invites it's listeners to become lost within it.

My family tells me I'm lost in life, I tell them I'm becoming a musician. My friends tell me I'm lost in the girl I love, I tell them I don't mind. Because being lost to me doesn't put you down a set path, it takes you down multiple roads - not just one. Examining everything and everyone around you in a curious nature, creating an emotional connection to the people and things you directly interact with. Diligently understanding your decisions by backtracking on the choices which were incorrect. Branching out and learning from others when need be, instead being too prideful to go on without advice. Basing decisions off of self instinct and your own driven emotion instead of another's direction or influence. I don't know exactly how or why but when I needed to understand it the most World of Echo revealed to me that being lost can be a beautiful thing, especially in the field of music or love. It's curiosity doesn't dismiss any possibility or any emotion, but instead considers them all - sifting through each one until discovering the choices best fit. My family and friends are right. I am more lost than I've ever been before, and I've never been more excited in my entire life.


user ratings (40)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
ethos
September 10th 2013


1788 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This is my favorite album and I would appreciate it if you guys checked it out, you can listen to
the whole thing here: http://youtu.be/L6hCpuNSyZo .

If you decide to purchase or download it, definitely get the re-issue because it contains four bonus
tracks that add to the album immensely. Sorry for the personal stuff/lengthy review, this was more
of a reflection on my position in life right now than an actual track by track synopsis. The fact
that it didn't have a review kind of convinced me to write something out, this has repeatedly been
one of the most awe-inspiring/rewarding listens of my entire life and I hope I did it at least a
tenth of the justice it's worth.

Winesburgohio
September 10th 2013


1030 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

beautiful man - normally i can take or leave personal touches but this was lovely and poignant. this highest compliment i can pay is that you've done this album justice - bravo! 8)

P.S I'm so happy I met you and came to find

Digging: Duke Ellington and John Coltrane - Duke Ellington and John Coltrane

FelixCulpa
September 10th 2013


1240 Comments


Nice review man. Your comfort with being lost is pretty admirable. Really liked your thoughts on being lost in the last paragraph, actually made me feel a little better.

Listening to the album now and I'm enjoying it. I was in the mood for something different so. Also his voice reminds me quite a bit of folk artist Sam Amidon.

Meruem
September 10th 2013


17 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hey this is good but you gotta check out Arcade Fire's Funeral. Its really good

ethos
September 10th 2013


1788 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

LOL

CK
September 11th 2013


4913 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Wow, this is great stuff with nothing but growing potential. Thanks for bringing this album to my attention! Sad he died fairly young

Winesburgohio
September 11th 2013


1030 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

bump because dis review deserves attention (as does the album but that goes without saying)

ethos
September 11th 2013


1788 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i have such great friends, thank you winesburgohio
glad people are checking this out!

Kman418
September 12th 2013


10463 Comments


how swag is this

Digging: AIDS Wolf - Cities of Glass

Kman418
September 12th 2013


10463 Comments


i bet this is hella swag

Kman418
September 12th 2013


10463 Comments


haha swaghh :^)

ethos
September 12th 2013


1788 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

this is beyond swag

Kman418
September 12th 2013


10463 Comments


dl'd gimme a bit

ethos
September 13th 2013


1788 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

holy s h i t

http://fac586.blogspot.com/2008/04/arthur-russell-being-it.html

HolidayKirk
Contributing Reviewer
September 13th 2013


1626 Comments


Geez this is a first review?

Write more okay?

Kman418
September 13th 2013


10463 Comments


feel like this is something that i need to give a while to grow

ethos
September 13th 2013


1788 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

thanks for the kind compliment, kirk

mindleviticus
September 15th 2013


8229 Comments


I just got this gonna give it a listen soon

Digging: Cultes Des Ghoules - Henbane

mindleviticus
September 15th 2013


8229 Comments


really interesting stuff so far

ethos
September 15th 2013


1788 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

hopefully you'll wind up loving being it as much as i have, mindle



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