Another version of Love Dancing is an interesting one… Arthur Russell was clearly a man who struggled with the idea of a definitive version. Indeed, for me, much of the enduring genius of his work lies in its unresolved nature – the perfect hook that happens only once, the purposeful non-rhyme. Maybe like classical music these songs will be reiterated and reinvented for all time.
So here we have two members of Arthur’s original band – Steven Hall & Mustafa Ahmed as part of Arthur’s Landing with a new version of the classic. And very lovely it is too. Loose limbed and limber, a more freewheeling, balearic take.
We had a quick (e)chat with Steven Hall….
HI STEVEN! THANKS FOR TAKING THE TIME TO ANSWER SOME QUESTIONS FOR US. HOW DID YOU FALL IN WITH ARTHUR, WAS IT VIA ALLEN, OR VICE VERSA?
Allen Ginsberg said “There’s this guy Arthur who writes songs like William Carlos Williams that you should meet” then he introduced us in the Poets Building 437 East 12th Street where I was already visiting my poetry teacher Larry Fagin on weekends from high school in Wilmington Delaware–I came to the US at fifteen from the outskirts of Glasgow with a crew cut–because in the movies Yanks had crew cuts–everyone in my US high school had long hair–even some of my high school teachers were hippies but by the time I got to NYC the summer of love had changed from kool to cool already.
WHEN YOU WERE RECORDING SONGS LIKE ‘IS IT ALL OVER MY FACE?’ WERE YOU CONSCIOUS YOU WERE STANDING ON THE EDGE OF HISTORY OR WAS IT JUST ONE OF MANY ARTISTIC PROJECTS ON WHICH YOU WERE WORKING. WERE YOU FOCUSED ON THE PROCESS RATHER THAN THE OUTCOME?
I was hoping to be “Standing On The Edge Of Paradise” based on my fantatical devotion to D.J. Rogers–suffused with the sense of oblivion proposed by the perpetual motion grooves of Bernie Worrell and Walter “Junie” Morrison through the filter of George Clinton’s assignments–searching for Buddhist gospel funk whilst secretly sharing visions of ornamental cocaine boys in lyrical flights of pop fantasy
I READ THAT YOU RECORDED THIS NEW VERSION ON THE NIGHT OF THE FULL MOON, AND WITH BOB BLANK. WERE THERE ANY OTHER RITUALS OR MAGIC YOU INVOKED FROM THE ORIGINAL SESSIONS?
Arthur was much more into ritual and alternative systems of approach like numerology but we shared a love of unfolding exposure of process and total respect for the moment’s caprice–for this new session with Bob Blank at the helm we simply tried to capture the full moon’s energy as faithfully as he did
THE DOWNTOWN NARRATIVE IS OFTEN CLOSED OFF WITH THE TRAGIC CODA OF HIV AND GENTRIFICATION. BUT OF COURSE, FOR MANY LIFE, WENT ON. DID YOU HAVE A DISTINCT SENSE OF AN ERA ENDING AND WHERE DID LIFE TAKE YOU NEXT?
After working with Arthur I moved to Hong Kong and have spent much of my life since then travelling in mind and body between East and West but did I move on?
FINALLY, WHAT’S COMING UP FOR YOU? HAVE WE MORE SOLO MUSIC TO LOOK FORWARD TO?
The next Nirosta Steel solo release is my nudisco version of Allen Ginsberg’s song EVERYBODY SING with remixes by Mind Fair and Cole Medina for Rogue Cat–now finishing up a collab with DJ Tomasz Guiddo we started last year in Shenzen China–a dance track with guest vocal by Kathy Diamond of The KDMS
Arthur’s Landing – Spring Collection is available now via Buddhist Army’s Bandcamp page.