I might have been the last person on the planet to encounter Arthur Russell’s music last year.  During a sweltering summer week of repeatedly playing old school disco and dance (along the lines of ABBA, Donna Summer and Dee D. Jackson,) I came across Loose Joint’s “Tell You Today.”  During college, I worked at my University’s student-run radio station.  We’d take the equipment to someone’s off-campus house on weekends and my friends who ran the show paid homage to Russell (and his bandmates in the Loose Joints project) by calling the series of parties they hosted Loose Joints Dance Parties.  It wasn’t your average college-kid-learning-to-use-a-turntable situation; most of the djs brought stuff that wouldn’t get popular for another four or five years (this was when indie-rock was all anyone wanted to listen to, and disco hadn’t yet begun to make a comeback.)

Finding the precious few Loose Joints recordings brought back some memories, and kindled my interest in Russell.  His biography is a sad read – Russell lived during an era when precautions against HIV and public health knowledge were not what they were today – he contracted HIV near the end of his life, though ultimately died of throat-cancer related complications.  A life-long cello player, Russell experimented over the course of his career with countless genres of music – electronic, avant-garde, minimalist, orchestral, disco, tech house, electro-pop.  He also helped foster the careers and music of many underground musicians through collaboration, producing and offering a venue for them to play – Russell acted for a time as music director of The Kitchen, an avant-garde performance space in New York.

One of Arthur Russell’s most well-known – and acclaimed – albums is Another Thought, a series of recordings made during the last decade of his life and released posthumously. 

Via AllMusic: “Compiled from selections from a daunting number of tapes and recordings made by Arthur Russell over the last decade of his life, Another Thought serves as a somewhat unintentional sequel to the majestic World of Echo. While it’s a primarily vocal/cello recording, Russell himself might have arranged and performed a final version differently, given his never flagging interest in the possibilities of dance and disco. Whether seen as a tribute, a collection of demos, or something else, it’s still a truly excellent record, Russell’s evocative, soulful-in-its-own-style singing and performing given a sweet showcase…  His cello performances are jaw-dropping on their own, at once pop and not pop. Brief appreciative liner notes aptly convey his successes and the tragedy of his death, but it’s the songs that serve as the best epitaph for a unique artist.”

You can stream the whole album here.

-Marika

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With the arrival of true summer in Portland (finally!) the Eden ladies are celebrating by spending every spare moment we have donning our summer frocks and heading outside to soak up sunshine and daydream.

For those staying in Portland this summer and anyone with travel plans spanning beyond city limits, we’ve created a playlist to provide a soundtrack to carefree, sun-soaked days.

To listen to our Summer Vacation playlist, click here.

(Vintage beach image via here.)

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Eden’s Grand Opening Celebration will feature (in addition to snacks, bubbly and shopping) Portland DJ Pippa Possible spinning records – we’re tremendously excited! It seemed fitting to provide a sneak peak / spotlight on this lovely and talented local woman.

Pippa lives and works as a live and radio DJ, interdisciplinary fine artist, time artist and curator.  If you’re a devotee of thez NE shop Palace of Industry, you’ve likely seen and heard Pippa spinning records every Saturday evening at IT’S POSSIBLE, her weekly theme-night.  Pippa also spins grunge music at the Record Room once a month called COME AS YOU ARE.

From Pippa:
I grew up in Santa Cruz, California. My father is a fine artist who worked at a used book and record store throughout my life, and I was raised listening to an eclectic collection of music.  I can remember being very small, sitting at the base of his drafting table, listening to music and watching him paint. I suppose that I absorbed his very “worldy” and eclectic taste, and added to it when I came of age in the late nineties, immersing myself in the world of basement shows and independent venues.

When I was a teenager and young adult, I began to go to shows.  I used to help out my friends who were in bands by making flyers for their house shows and stuff like that.  My sister is ten years older than me so I was informed by her taste in New Wave and later Grunge.

I moved to Portland when I was 20, in 2000.  It was here that I started to DJ, and curate shows.  I formed Thee Kaleidoscope, a DJ triptych, with pals Sasha Burchuk and Patrick Dennehy. We spun records and occasionally booked shows at Bush Gardens Lounge and other venues such as Fast Forward.  I joined a live experimental radio show on KBOO as a member of The Groop.

I moved to Chicago in 2007 to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where I received my BFA in Studio Arts. I focused my studies on Video, Performance and Audio. At SAIC, I was the Station Manager of FreeRadioSAIC. I hosted shows,  DJed school-wide events and free-lanced around Chicago. After receiving my BFA, I returned to Portland last year and began to DJ at Palace of Industry.

Favorite genres of music: I have eclectic tastes. If you were to look at my collection, I suppose you would conclude Folk / Rock / Pop, but I grew up listening to music from all over the time/space continuum. I love a bit of everything, honestly.

Favorite musicians: Harry Nilsson, McGarrigle Sisters, Sandy Denny, Led Zeppelin, Astor Piazzola.

Favorite record stores: Locally, Mississippi Records is a great spot. Green Noise. The albums they release are fantastic! In the Bay Area, I tend to go to Amoeba, Streetlight in Santa Cruz, Logos Books and Records.  I have been occasionally lucky at thrift stores, and in dollar bins, too.

Outside of DJing,  I like to dance, doodle and take snapshots. I am a professional time-based and fine artist.  My video work has been screened at the Gene Siskel Film Center, in the Chicago Underground Film Festival, and the Onion City Experimental Film Festival. I am currently exhibiting collages at Musee 16 gallery in Santa Ana, California, and have upcoming exhibits in Portland.

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Sunshine, heat, cloudless days, where are you?  We’re ready to slip on our monokinis and hang by the pool.  Until then, we’ll listen to some new-wave, Brazillian jazz and twee pop and watch the rain, we suppose!

(Bathing beauty photos from French magazine L’Officiel archives!)

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wegY2AjzrCk

MIJ (aka Jim Holmberg) was found yodeling by the fountain in Washington Square Park one summer afternoon in the late 1960s.  As the result of a car accident, he suffered an injury which fractured his skull and affected his hearing.  One of the changes that Holmberg first experienced post-accident was an affected sense of sound that allowed him to do things his own perceptions couldn’t quite understand.  Naturally, the first thing record label ESP (whose employee encountered Holmberg) did was bring him into the studio (we can hope their second stop was a medical facility!)  The result is seminal, yet often underrated, late 60’s acid rock with a distinct sound, thanks to the use of yodeling and reverb.

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