The soundtrack for Keep The Lights On is out now in association with Audika Records and available for purchase on iTunes today. The album, which received a write up on Pitchfork, is composed entirely of music from the iconic New York musician Arthur Russell.
New York City has been home to some of the most important names and movements in the history of American music. From the whiskey soaked compositions of Stephen Foster to the fast-paced/short-lived bouts of noise of the No Wave scene, New York has produced countless musicians who have left their incredibly influential and indubitably permanent mark on music. But for every musician or band that made their mark, there innumerable others who spent their lives devoted to writing and producing music in New York without their name or work garnering them attention or praise. Arthur Russell narrowly avoided this all-too-common fate.
Matt Wolf is a New York filmmaker whose documentaries focus on music, teenagers, and artists who he describes as gentle gays. He made the film Wild Combination (2008) about the avant-garde cellist and disco producer, Arthur Russell (whose music is used in Keep The Lights On). Currently, Wolf is working on Teenage, a documentary about the invention of youth. While working on Teenage, Wolf created a short film, “I Remember: A Film About Joe Brainard”, where he pays tribute to one of his favorite artists and writers, Joe Brainard. Like Arthur Russell, Brainard’s life ended prematurely due to AIDS.
Arthur Russell, whose music was used as the score of Keep the Lights On, was an artist who defied genre. A gifted cellist and composer, his oeuvre ranges from minimalist compositions to beat-heavy disco songs and just about everything in between. But no matter what genre-bending song of Russell’s you happen to be listening to, his talent and his penchant for exploration are made abundantly clear. These selections aim to convey the wide range of both sounds and emotions Russell was able to call upon in his own music as well as provide a context to the acts he associated and/or collaborated with. These songs (with the exception of the last one) are more upbeat than one might expect from Arthur Russell and seem particularly appropriate as summer comes closer.
Dinosaur L – Go Bang (1982)
A hip, infectious acid-jazz groove from one of Arthur Russell’s countless monikers with vocal contributions from minimalist composer Julius Eastman.
Loose Joints – Tell You Today (1983)
An upbeat pop gem from the collaboration of Russell and renowned New York DJ Steve D’Aquisto.