Originally released in 1994 on Point Music, Another Thought went out of print like so many other albums before a renewed interest in the work of Arthur Russell made the prospect of a re-release more likely. Other than being remastered and some minor liner note changes, the album has been unchanged, and yet like so much of Russell's work, it still manages to sound fresh twelve years later (and probably roughly fifteen years since it was actually created). Another Thought was actually the first posthumous release from Russell, and despite all the great work that has followed on the Audika label, it's great to have it back in print.
Sure, there are tracks on the release that have been featured in different forms on newer releases (most notably "Lucky Cloud" from World Of Echo and "Keeping Up" from Calling Out Of Context), but Russell himself notoriously reworked his own tracks over and over, seemingly rarely actually finishing a track in his own perfectionist way, while oftentimes leaving several and uniquely outstanding versions of the same track on tape.
In many ways, Another Thought is the most pop-oriented release in the entire Russell catalogue so far. The first half of the release finds tracks structured in very normal ways, with some of his more mainstream sounding instrumentation. "A Little Lost" finds him weaving his usual cello bowing with some nice acoustic guitar and line after line of catchy vocal melodies. The aforementioned "Lucky Cloud" finds him plucking out more rhythmic cello work, but again his vocals dip and climb and veer all over, keeping one step ahead over the course of the two minute piece.
Elsewhere, the six-minute "Keeping Up" is not only one of my favorite songs by Russell, but possibly within my top 20 favorite songs ever. The song is fairly simple musically, with only plain rhythm programming and sparse cello work with vocals, but it's what Russell does with the space that's so magical. His cello moves from dancing, melodic notes to hyper-fuzzy passages that sound like overdriven electric guitar, while the male/female vocal parts (some of them clipped and edited uniquely) and repetitive lyrics push the song forward at a relentless pace. In other places, you can hear the worldly influences (polyrhythms, etc) that bled into his music and tracks like "In The Light Of The Miracle" sound like alternate-universe versions of tracks from Remain In Light by the Talking Heads.
If you've listened to any of his work to date, you know that he had a truly varied range (including everything from dense disco to avant garde cello and voice experiments and almost musique concrete). In that regard, Another Thought might very well be one of the best places in his entire catalogue to start if you haven't yet heard him. It's not as dancy as Calling Out of Context or the Springfield EP, yet it's not quite as obtuse as World Of Echo or First Thought, Best Thought. Some have said that Russell sounds like Nick Drake if he had a cello and some effects instead of a guitar, and that description isn't too far off. It's amazing, heartbreaking, inspiring music.
(from almost cool music reviews)
on August 11, 2006
With his John Martyn-like voice, Arthur Russell takes the listener on a journey to places varied and always interesting. Most of these songs are voice and cello, but percussion sometimes enters the soundscape and two songs sound like Talking Heads, circa "Remain in Light." This is not music for casual listening. It is however very beautiful and I have never heard anything else quite like it. Enjoy!
on March 6, 2008
I can't wait to read the book on Arthur Russell that I think will be out soon. This guy was a pure genius, experimenting with different genres and bringing the NYC downtown together. Whether in pop, disco, rock or pure weirdness, Arthur Russell created brilliant music that will stand the test of time. Apparently he walked around New York at night listening to his demos and I dare you to do the same and listen to "I'm losing my taste for the nightlife" from this album without shedding a tear. A very personal and beautiful album.
on December 28, 2014
Arthur Russell is hands-down cool, and so is this CD. I especially like the song "This is How We Walk on the Moon" and of course, the song "A Little Lost." This is the first CD I've bought of his, and I'm looking forward to listening to some of his other work.