The Freelance Mentalists.
Saturday, March 13, 2004
 
*SPECIAL GUEST MENTALIST - DON ALLRED*

The World Of Arthur Russell (Soul Jazz - 2004)

My two cents re THE WORLD OF ARTHUR RUSSELL (notes after first couple of spins; CALLING OUT OF CONTEXT turned out well also): So far, seems like the quote from Allen Ginsberg might be key: says Arthur told him he was trying to make "Buddhist bubblegum songs." So we get the contemplation and catchiness at the same time, or in cyclic, alternating patterns: all the shifting plains on planes of activity can gradually haze out like a street scene,veils of illusion and the steady beat under all other rhythms can add to this effect or provide a contrast to what's above, going gradually across shades of effect, along the same scale (I'm thinking here especially of the finally-heard full-or-anyway-long-length "Living in the Light": plenty light, plenty shades of blue as well as humor; some tracks seem mainly about the humor).Not quite relaxing on the axis with the Steady Change Band (width being played with). The tracks with just his voice, cello, maybe a guitar, do this in miniature, crystallized focus as refreshed air: lines, hopes, moods rise and fall like breath, in and out of the silence and nothingness (quickly). I like that these shorter pieces can be more focussed (his voice can sometimes get close to affectless in the midst of the longer, more crowded grooves), and still have the mutable vibe of the epics, and that they have the same brisk beat, without having it so spelled out for us by all those rhythm generators (much more of a prob elsewhere, like I notice on this album-length mix Freelance Hellraiser did for Mixmag, despite all his well-timed mashups, got this same beat keeps coming back, unifying, yeah, but Freelance doesn't need it all that much, he's got an implicit sense of rhythm, but, as with Arthur, he's trying to balance expectations-what's much worse than this are the auteurs who insist on building a big pedantic digital image of a complete drumset, an ugly overpriced obsolete one, like from Sears Roebuck ca.1962) As for Arthur himself:so far, beatwise, fave is "Let's Go Swimming," where the *basic* rhythm track rises up (mainly via some keyboard, but no longer twinkling patiently along like his keybs usually do; this one's subsuming most of the usual percussion-per-se clatter) and: cartwheels all around,pinballs all around, and he mentions the sky, and I'm looking up at it with cartballs pinwheels around periphery of my vision, elusive yet definitive of its contours, and there's yer Buddhist bubblegum (pale blue, but with sufficient bubble and pop).








 
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