Thelema Now’s Frater Puck talks to Princeton University grad Matthew Marble about his dissertation Buddhist Bubblegum: Esoteric Buddhism in the Creative Process of Arthur Russell. (You can read the full dissertation here.)
For the uninitiated, the late Arthur Russell was an American cellist, composer, producer, singer, and musician whose work spanned a disparate range of styles. Trained in contemporary experimental composition and Indian classical music, Russell found success in downtown New York’s avant-garde and disco scenes in the 1970s and 1980s.
A prolific recording artist, Russell produced a considerable collection of material over the course of his career, including a number of successful underground dance hits under various aliases, but his near-chronic inability to complete projects resulted in a limited amount of released output; World of Echo (1986) would be his only full-length solo album to see release during his lifetime. Russell also collaborated with a wide variety of artists, including composers Steve Reich and Philip Glass, poet Allen Ginsberg, musicians such as Peter Zummo and David Byrne, and DJs such as Walter Gibbons and Nicky Siano. He died from AIDS in 1992, still in relative obscurity and nearly broke.
His music lives on – so check it out!