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Global pop stars, wonky pop producers, experimental folk artists, indie-dance bands and the like queuing up to pay musical tribute to a man who spent much of his short lifetime searching for artistic and commercial success? The irony would not be lost on Arthur Russell.

During an interview for biopic Wild Combination: A Portrait Of Arthur Russell, US composer Philip Glass made the comment that in the mid to late '70s, his friend had "felt in his bones that he was destined to have a larger audience than he had at that moment."

That observation came over ten years after the death of Russell from an AIDS-related illness aged just 40.

As with a number of exceptional artists whose profiles made the jump from obscurity to relative popularity outside their lifetimes, it took posthumous releases and a documentary to ignite interest in Russell's work outside New York, the city he called home for 20 years.

His story is at once familiar and unique, perhaps typical of his generation. A musician from an early age, the teenage Russell fled his family home in rural Iowa for the big city lights of San Francisco in the late '60s, seeking refuge in artistic communes. A move to New York followed soon after, where he would form friendships with Allen Ginsberg, David Byrne, Rhys Chatham, Gavin Bryars, Peter Zummo and Ernie Brooks amongst other creative figures working within avant garde and experimental music.

Russell's prolific body of work was effectively unknown outside the NYC community he worked in during the '70s and '80s, and deemed experimental within it. Yet now, in the 21st century, his is a familiar, fitting and compatible sound - a foundation stone in contemporary music, heard in These New Puritans, Hercules and Love Affair, Hype Williams, The Knife, and so many more.

If one measure of the significance of the cellist, singer, songwriter and producer is his influence and impact on subsequent generations of musicians and producers, then - at least on the strength of new release Master Mix Red Hot + Arthur Russell - the man was a visionary, a virtuoso, a genius in his field.

In the midst of the noise and buzz around the compilation, a collaboration between US indie Yep Roc Records and the not-for-profit AIDS awareness charity Red Hot Organisation, descriptions of Russell as a 'dreamer' who moved between 'musical worlds' and produced music 'impossible to categorise' recur.

Such portrayals are seemingly accurate to a degree, though they may also unintentionally undermine or devalue Russell's long-term ambition to create music universally appreciated by the masses, all the while floating through styles and sounds, playing with DAT and reel-to-reel machines, effect boxes, and experimenting with voice, cello, drum patterns and percussion.

The double album features an eclectic roster of contributors: big name chart-dwellers like Scissor Sisters, Robyn and Hot Chip share space on 24 tracks with edgier crossover artists such as Devendra Banhart, Sufjan Stevens, Richard Reed Parry and Blood Orange, and the lesser-known talents of VEGA INTL, Phosphorescent and The Revival Hour.

Sequencing on Master Mix Red Hot + Arthur Russell mirrors its subject's schizophrenic tendencies towards music, hopping from Robyn's camp and bouncy Europop remake of 'Tell You' (originally recorded by Russell under the moniker of Loose Joints) to the energetic and rhythmic 'Keeping Up' by a US-Canadian folk supergroup or a vocal-heavy beat-driven 'Eli' from Rubblebucket & Nitemoves.

Hot Chip's longer version of 'Go Bang' (recorded under another Russell pseudonym, Dinosaur L) puts guitar and organ lines, beeps, glitches and vocals from Goddard and co to brilliant use in an eleven minute two-parter - a contender for best track on the album, had Jose Gonzalez's exquisite take on 'This Is How We Walk On The Moon' not been included.

Cosmic interludes courtesy of Alabama's Lonnie Holley, along with songs like 'This Love Is Crying' featuring Russell's former bandmates and collaborators Peter Zummo and Ernie Brooks (The Modern Lovers) lend the compilation a real air of authenticity, as does Sam Amidon on jaw-dropper 'Lucky Cloud'; the folk artist's delivery is ridiculously close to the original.

Russell's long-time fascination with disco and explorations into minimalism, vocal play, string arrangements and drumming are well represented on the release, itself a thoughtful and sensitive eulogy to an artist who connected the worlds of serious and popular music through an endless quest for perfectionism in his songcraft. A truly wonderful record that deserves attention, as does the work of Arthur Russell. He'd be proud.

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