Arthur Russell tribute to feature Sufjan Stevens, Robyn, Phosphorescent, and more


Since 1989, Red Hot Organization has been raising AIDS awareness through pop culture, issuing star-studded music compilations like 2009’s Dark Was The Night. On October 21st, the not-for-profit will release its latest charity compilation, a tribute to the late singer/songwriter Arthur Russell, who died from AIDS complications in 1992. Entitled Master Mix: Red Hot + Arthur Russell and due out via Yep Roc, the 26-track offering continues Red Hot’s streak of enlisting marquee names as contributors.

The forthcoming compilation will feature covers from Robyn, Sufjan Stevens, Glen Hansard, Hot Chip, Blood Orange, Phosphorescent, Devendra Banhart, Jose Gonzalez, Cults, Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry, Scissor Sisters, Thao & the Get Down Stay Down, Colin Stetson, Sam Amidon, Lonnie Holley, The Autumn Defense, Rubblebucket and many more.

As Pitchfork reports, Sufjan Stevens had this to say about his cover of 1994 Another Thought song “A Little Lost”,

I like “A Little Lost” because it’s all about kissing. I love kissing. If I could kiss all day, I would. I can’t stop thinking about kissing. I like kissing more than sex because there’s no end to it. You can kiss forever. You can kiss yourself into oblivion. You can kiss all over the body. You can kiss yourself to sleep. And when you wake up, you can’t stop thinking about kissing. Dammit, I can’t get anything done because I’m so busy thinking about kissing. Kissing is madness! But it’s absolute paradise, if you can find a good kisser.

Arthur’s music is all over the place, but most of it seems to be about embracing darkness (loneliness) and ambiguity (confusion) with the biggest bear hug in the world. Catharsis! He didn’t give a shit about fads or fashion even as he was influenced by popular music, club music, and all that shitty art music at the Kitchen. He kind of cobbled it all together to create his own diverse musical language, He was funny as shit (a wordsmith, a master of the innuendo), but also dead serious (and blunt) about the deepness of his feelings, unafraid to express affection in his songs, without pandering or cliche. Arthur was real as shit. You can’t fake realness.

For their cover, Hot Chip chose “Go Bang”, a song from Russell’s pseudonym Dinosaur L. In a video, the band’s Alexis Taylor and Joe Goddard detail the recording process and why they chose the song. Watch it below.

Master Mix: Red Hot + Arthur Russell Tracklist:
01. Jose Gonzalez: “This Is How We Walk On The Moon”
02. Lonnie Holley: “Soon-To-Be Innocent Fun (Interlude)”
03. Robyn: “Tell You”
04. Hot Chip: “Go Bang”
05. Sufjan Stevens: “A Little Lost”
06. Lonnie Holley: “In The Light Of The Miracle (Interlude)”
07. Richard Reed Parry, Little Scream, Sam Amidon, Colin Stetson & Sarah Neufeld: “Keeping Up”
08. Liam Finn, Ernie Brooks & Peter Zummo: “This Love Is Crying”
09. Rubblebucket & Nitemoves: “Eli”
10. The Revival Hour: “Hiding Your Present from You”
11. Sam Amidon: “Lucky Cloud”
12. Devendra Banhart: “Losing My Taste For The Night Life”
13. Phosphorescent: “You Can Make Me Feel Bad”
14. Blood Orange: “Is It All Over My Face & Tower Of Meaning”
15. Scissor Sisters: “That’s Us/Wild Combination”
16. VEGA INTL.: “Arm Around You”
17. Oh Mercy: “Planted A Thought”
18. Lonnie Holley: “Hop On Down (Interlude)”
19. Cults: “Being It”
20. Richard Reed Parry: “Just A Blip”
21. Glen Hansard: “I Couldn’t Say It To Your Face”
22. Thao & The Get Down Stay Down: “Nobody Wants A Lonely Heart”
23. The Autumn Defense: “Oh Fernanda Why”
24. Alexis Taylor: “Our Last Night Together”
25. Lonnie Holley: “The Deer In The Forest (Interlude)”
26. Redding Hunter: “Close My Eyes”